#ParisRDV Lancome USA Paris Rendezvous Blog <![CDATA[Teint Idole Ultra Cushion Foundation: Fall Back in Love with Full Coverage]]>

The waiter at my usual cafe on the rue de Rivoli kept telling me I look tired. I told him that it’s not a very nice thing to tell a woman she looks fatigué. He didn’t seem to care but I on the other hand went straight home to take a long hard look in the mirror, wondering what would provoke him to say such a thing.

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With Paris so quiet this month I admit I’ve been slacking off on my makeup, and, while others are off on holiday, I’ve been burning the midnight oil trying to get ahead on new projects. Autumn is on the horizon though, so it’s time to get myself together. Replenishing my Énergie de Vie has been a good start, and when it comes to my makeup something new just arrived too — Teint Idole Ultra Cushion Foundation.

In recent years, I feel like full coverage foundation has fallen out of favor. With lighter beauty balms in the spotlight, it became associated with heavy, matte, and even caky complexions. But since I had just been pushed into thinking I was in a bit of a beauty rut, I was willing to give it another try. I opened up the box, took out the compact, popped in the cushion, and I haven’t looked back since. I take back everything I ever said about full coverage. Lancôme’s three years of development have made the perfect oil-free, high-coverage, long-wearing liquid foundation in a portable cushion compact that I adore. Here’s why...

What I love about Teint Idole Ultra Cushion Foundation

It’s incredibly lightweight and breathable. Nothing about it feels heavy, caky, or less natural than more sheer options like Beauty Balm or Miracle Cushion.
Undeniably dewey results. In Paris we tend to prefer this dewy complexion, but if you prefer something more matte just top it off with Dual Finish.
The full coverage is ultra efficient. Just one dab on the cushion is enough for the entire face, but it’s buildable to your liking and can even be dabbed on as concealer if needed.
It’s silky and soft, so not only does it glide on so smooth but leaves skin ultra pleasant to the touch.
• With SPF 50, not only is your foundation full coverage, but your skin is totally protected as well, making it ideal for any season.
It’s free of bad stuff like parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, as well as being oil free and non comedogenic.
The refillable compact is clean and easy. With no leakage and no spills like a bottle, the Double Matrix Technology cushion dispenses the perfect amount each time!
A more ecofriendly option. When you run out, simply pop out your empty cushion and pick up a new cartridge, meaning less environmental waste for the environment and more savings for you.

With my new Teint Idole Ultra Cushion Foundation, I think my complexion looks brighter, more even, and more rested. And as for the rude waiter next time I went to the cafe down the street? Who cares. He can still keep his opinions to himself as far as I’m concerned.

<![CDATA[Visionnaire Yeux Eye Cream - A Fresh Outlook for 2017]]>

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? I used to. They were usually a goal, a specific thing I could check off the list or not, and to be honest, most of the time they were fairly petty. But then a few years ago I got some great advice from a friend who suggested focusing on the bigger things, the things that matter, and in a way...everything. She suggested instead of making New Year’s Resolutions why not pick a theme, a new outlook with which to see the year ahead, a big idea if you will.

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It can be as a simple as just one word — take optimism for example. Perhaps in 2017 you will decide to try to always stay optimistic about things that come your way, to look on the bright side and approach each situation with the belief that the best possible outcome really is possible. Imagine how that could change the way you do things big and small? Here’s another big idea — being grateful. Instead of going into the New Year thinking what you want more of, imagine if you decided that your theme for the year would be gratitude. We could stop assessing ourselves on what we don’t have and how to get it, and instead our objective could be to appreciate that which we do have more. I think you can start to see what I mean, how these big ideas, these New Year’s themes, are so much more than just a resolution.

But no matter what you choose, it’s good to start the year with a new outlook. At the end of 2016, and especially after the holidays, we might all be feeling (and looking) a bit tired. That look of fatigue, whether it’s from one sleepless night or a whole year of work behind us, may appear as under eye puffiness, crow's feet, or dark circles. It’s hard to start the new year with a new outlook when your eyes are still being weighed down by the fatigue of the last year

So, here at the end of 2016 while we all sit back and think about the big idea with which we want to approach the year ahead, here’s a small idea to set us on the right track — the new Visionnaire Yeux Eye Cream. I can tell you this new cream has been a favorite with the Lancôme team themselves, and after hearing the buzz I tried it myself this week. Immediately on the finger tips this cream is smooth and fresh to the touch. It’s like a magic eraser with its HydraBLUR™ technology, instantly reducing the appearance of puffiness and crow’s feet. But we can all look forward to the long term results as well. After four weeks, dark circles are reduced and wrinkles around the entire eye area are diminished. It’s the perfect beauty tip for making your face photo ready, and just what we all might need to look and feel ready to face the new year with a fresh philosophy.

After you party until dawn on New Year’s Eve later this week, start 2017 the next morning with two things — the new Visionnaire Yeux Eye Cream and a fresh new outlook. With these two things, I think we’ll all be looking forward to a beautiful year ahead.

<![CDATA[April Showers — Rainy Days in Paris with Mr. Big Waterproof]]>

Rain rain go away, come back another day...I’ve been singing this song a lot lately but the skies above Paris just aren’t listening. Maybe they’ll hear me if I sing it in French? I suppose if the weather rings true to the saying, these April showers will bring us May flowers, and so this weather is set to keep up. Le sigh.

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The truth is Paris gets a lot of rain. Even more than the drizzly Seattle in fact. On average we have thirteen days a month where it rains...yikes! Now, I’m no weather man or miss météo but I do know a thing about makeup and Paris, so when rain is in the forecast I’ve got some suggestions.

The first is to get yourself set up with Mr. Big Waterproof. If ever a mascara could be chivalrous, then Mr. Big Waterproof would be it. A cry at the movies or a friend’s wedding? He is by your side to see you through the tears. A spontaneous downpour on the Rue de Rivoli? He’ll never stand to have your makeup ruined by April showers. He’ll never run when rain starts to fall. You can count on Mr. Big Waterproof like that, the same way you can count on this mascara to give you dark lashes you’ll love with three times the volume and extra long wear.

My second suggestion should you find yourself in Paris sous la pluie (under the rain) is to grab an umbrella and have a good time anyhow. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the city even on a rainy day, and here are some of my favorites of Paris hacks to stay dry and make the most of Paris no matter what the weather!

Browse the shops of the Palais-Royal. There are so many beautiful artisans, cute cafes, and more in this special place. Your shopping will be shielded from the rain in the beautiful arcades and you can admire the garden from the sidelines where you’ll stay dry.

Wander the covered passage ways. Often referred to as passages or galleries located mostly in the 2nd and 9th arrondissements, these pre-cursors to the modern indoor mall are much more charming. With their glass ceilings they’re the next best thing to being outside. You’ll be sheltered from the rain but bathed in natural light and be able to take in some of Paris’s most fascinating architectural features.

Take a tea at Mariage Frères. At anytime of year this is a luxurious and historic tea room where you can lounge for hours savoring hundreds of teas with savory and sweet snacks to match while waiting out a storm.

Get lost in the Louvre. Bad weather is the perfect excuse to spend an inordinate amount of time getting lost in the world’s most famous museum. Escape the crowds to wander to far ends and discover lesser known masterpieces often overlooked.

Sign up for a French cooking class. If you can’t be outside then spend some time in a French kitchen. There are so many great cooking classes in Paris, but La Cuisine is a great place to start!

<![CDATA[Bird’s Eye View — Paris’s Best Lookout Spots]]>

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of these articles going around the internet. You know…the ones that tell you where the most instagrammable spots are. That’s one way to see a place. But to really see a place, I think they’ve got it backwards. While the saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ve found that when you let go of the camera and live in the moment, when you experience life in 4D…well that is enough to leave you speechless. At least in Paris it is…

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But I do see how such guides and lists can be useful. After all, research is the best way to make a trip anywhere great. So I thought instead of sharing my list of the most instagrammable spots in Paris, I thought that I would share the city’s best lookouts to take in a sweeping view of the French capital. Should you find yourself there, I hope you will stop and look with your eyes first, take a deep breath, and just take it all in. But, I certainly won’t blame you if you feel the need to capture it with your camera too…

L’Arc de Triumphe — The hike up the stairs of this very famous monument is well worth it once you see the view at the top. From here you’ll feel as if you could reach out and touch the Eiffel Tower!

Centre Pompidou — Take the elevator to the top floor of the Centre Pompidou in the Beaubourg area to take a wonderful westward view over the city. You can even enjoy the sights over a flute of champagne from the very chic Georges restaurant you’ll find there.

Sacre Coeur — Atop the hill of Montmartre, the Sacre Couer can be seen from almost everywhere in Paris, which means it also offers amazing views over the city. The trip up is well worth it to look back down.

Eiffel Tower — The most famous spot in all of Paris for a great view will take you 80 stories highin the sky. The view from the Eiffel Tower offers more than just 360 degree sights of Paris though, you can see well into the suburbs and on a clear day all the way to the countryside!

Montparnasse Tower — And while the greatest advantage of looking out from it might be not having to look at it, the view of Paris from the Panoramic Observation Deck on the 59th floor is often called the most beautiful in all of Paris.

Musée d’Orsay — Come for the art, but stay for the view! The top floor of the beautiful Musée d’Orsay offers amazing views from east to west on the Seine River and a picture perfect perspective of the Parisian skyline.

Paris des Buttes Chaumont — In the center of this large park on the east side of Paris, you’ll find a beautiful lookout spot offering sweeping views of the city. In the summer the very busy park is open 24 hours, so as a pro tip, go at sunrise to take in the view in solitude.

Grande Roue de Paris — If you’re not afraid of heights take a trip up this iconic ferris wheel at Place de la Concorde for spectacular 360 views around Paris from the heart of the city!

<![CDATA[My Fragrance, My Engraving — A Gift Filled With Beauty]]>

If there is one fragrance for me that is most iconic to Lancôme, it's La Vie Est Belle. The name itself sums up the spirit of the brand — life is beautiful, and the scent is just as lovely. I was so excited to hear that Lancôme is now offering custom engraving on their fragrance bottles. Lancôme gifted me my own La Vie Est Belle last week with my initials and I will treasure it forever as a reminder of these wonderful years working with them to tell stories on Paris Rendez-Vous here.

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The C in my monogram is for Chastain, my mother’s maiden name. It’s not common that children wear their mother’s last names as well, but I feel so proud to have my mother’s name too. Technically it is my middle name, but over the years I have adopted it as a part of my last name. From graduations to film credits and more, I have always insisted that Chastain be listed and announced. Especially since settling down in France, as Chastain is the Americanized version of the French name Castaing and my link to the French part of my ancestry.

And speaking of mothers, I couldn’t help but think that a Lancôme custom engraved fragrance would be the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Each year I struggle to come up with a gift special enough for my mom, but this year I had the perfect idea.

Living on the opposite side of the world from my mom isn’t always easy for either of us. Because of the huge distance and other responsibilities, we don’t often get to visit one another. La Vie Est Belle is about the choice to live one’s life to the fullest and fill it with beauty, and my mother has always encouraged me to do just that, even if it means my dreams take me far far away. She is my ultimate cheerleader, and without a doubt the first one to read and like my Paris Rendez-Vous posts each Sunday night. From time to time I send her little teas and chocolates from local places here so she can taste and smell Paris whenever she misses me. She calls these her “little Paris moments” and it’s so precious when I go home to visit her and see the treasures she has collected here and the treats I’ve sent her displayed at home. I know they make her feel a little bit closer to me so I wanted to give her something to add to that this year.

So this Mother’s Day I’m sending her a custom engraved bottle of La Vie Est Belle as well. At nearly twenty-eight years old I still call my mother “Mama” and I don’t think that will ever change. I had Mama, je t’aime engraved on the bottle, and while she doesn’t speak much French I know she understands these words. Now each time she misses me in California she can reach for the same scent that I’ll be wearing at home in Paris. Two sides of the world, one fragrance, and always in each others' hearts. Maybe you’ll remind your mom how much you love her by sharing your fragrance with her too this Mother’s Day

<![CDATA[Le Temps des Cerises: A Moment to Treasure!]]>

I had been watching and waiting anxiously for our cherry blossoms to bloom here in Paris. It’s a special moment every Spring that I remember each year as I stop to photograph and marvel at them everyday for as long as they last.

There are several clusters of them throughout the city, and when they bloom each April they’re like pink clouds floating in a Paris sky. We sit underneath them shaded from the sun and bathed in their delicate pink light, like an official festival of Spring we’re all drawn to.

Their delicate little blooms spring forth so quickly, a sheer force of nature, only to fall and be blown away with the wind a week or so after. We all know the cherry blossoms go as fast as they come. In a matter of a week or so they appear and disappear, pushed off their branches by the budding green leaves of the tree. Each year I think “wouldn’t it be magic if our trees were pink all year round? If they just stayed this way?” But nature has its plans and its lessons I think. Its the ephemeral nature of the blossoms that make us stop and appreciate them because we know the moment is precious. The kind that only comes around so often and thus we savour every minute of it while it lasts. Le temps des cerises, as we call it in French, teaches us to treasure each moment because before we know it, it will be gone.

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I used to believe in the signature fragrance of a woman. That once you find the right one, it’s something you wear everyday. But now I’m not so sure. Some moments are special, days or weeks that just aren't like the rest. And so one quiet morning this week I found myself reaching for a scent I hadn’t smelled in a while. Doused in a bit of Trésor, I was off to visit the Parc de Sceaux and sit beneath this year’s cherry blossoms. A special scent for a special day that will always recall a morning beneath the cherry blossoms. A reminder to me to treasure these magic moments in life before they slip away…

<![CDATA[Auda[city] in London: A New City Chic Palette]]>

The first time I ever went to Paris was actually via London exactly 20 years ago this month. It was the very same year the Eurostar was inaugurated in fact. I was 8 years old and my mom took my sister and I to the British capital on vacation to visit my cousin. She decided to pop over with us to Paris for one day on the new high speed train across the English channel. For a young American girl abroad for the first time in my life, it wasn’t easy to understand how one could go from country to country so quickly, or how trains could go under water for that matter. So needless to say, the experience had quite an impact on me and ever since there has been a sentimental link between Paris and London in my heart

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Since journeying between the two is so easy on the Eurostar, I still pop over to London from time to time to visit friends and enjoy all this sister city has to offer. London is like the trendy and quirky sibling of Paris, but with its classic roots still firmly grounded. It’s a bit bigger, a bit busier, and a bit faster. I just love London, from cute cafes in Notting Hill, to beautiful views on London Bridge, to lively nights out on the East End. I also love to people watch here and remark how Londoner’s style varies from the Parisians. Isn’t it fascinating how a city can inspire your style so much?

Lisa Eldridge designed the new Auda[city] in London palette with exactly that in mind. As creative director for Lancôme, she is often between London and Paris, and wanted to create a city chic palette inspired by her hometown here and a counterpart to the Auda[city] in Paris palette that Lancôme released last year. The idea is to mix and match, layer and build, to create countless looks with a palette as versatile and playful as a London lady and her style

With sixteen shades the possibilities are positively endless, and Lisa has already shared some of her favorite looks with the palette and the story behind it in her tutorial. I traveled to London myself last week just for fun, and Auda[city] in London was the perfect packing companion to bring along and change up my look over a few days there. Here are a few London inspired combinations I came up with using it to make your eyes pop...

London Fog — Apply “Rich History” all over the lids, and then “London is Callin’” to the outer crease. Blend well then add “Purple Pageantry” with the flat brush for definition to the outer corners of the eyes. Finish with a touch of “Tower Bridge” applied with your finger to the inner eyes to illuminate the look.

Green Park — Apply “Queen’s Lace” as an all over base up to the brows, and then “Fresh Garden” all over the lids. Add a touch of “Woody Bar” to the inner thirds of the lids. Blend “Misty Morning” into the crease, and finish by lining the under eye with “Midnight Haze”.

Soho to Shoreditch — Use “Steel” all over the lids, then with the flat end of the brush use “Midnight Purple” to create a smokey cat eye effect at the outer corners of the eyes. Using your finger, apply “Soho Lights” to the inner eyelids and inner corner of the eyes.

<![CDATA[Advanced Génfique Sensitive — Au Revoir Bad Skin Days!]]>

Everybody has bad skin days. I know I do. For some of us, those days can turn into weeks at their worst! Dry skin, breakouts that just don’t seem to heal, that je ne sais quoi - and I don’t mean that in the good way…it’s frustrating to say the least. When you can’t put your best face forward it seems to take a toll on your entire outlook.

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Oftentimes, environmental factors such as weather, travel, change of seasons, stress, and pollution can cause fragility on the skin’s surface, sometimes it all just feels so out of my control. I want to take that back, the control. I know we can’t wake up and change everything in an instant but when bad skin is bothering us, we can make a quick decision before anything and take some pressure off ourselves. Go ahead, say it with me — “Bad skin days happen, I’m only human!” Now you can be proactive with some peace of mind, and trust me, relieving stress is the first thing to do wonders for your skin.

The second is the new Advanced Génifique Sensitive. Bad skin days are a sensitive issue which is why Lancôme created a sensitive solution, literally. This rescue remedy is revolutionary, elevating the already amazing Advanced Génifique by giving it an ultra fresh boost of antioxidants right when your skin needs them most. The dual serum system works to soothe skin immediately, and throughout a month or so of use, restore skin’s barrier function to make it strong and healthy again.

Hold on to your Advanced Génifique Sensitive

Step 1 — Twist the ampoule clockwise until the pure Ferulic Acid and pure Vitamin E dose is released. This fresh release system was designed to ensure that it’s ingredients remain ultra pure and potent so they’re most effective when you need them.

Step 2 — Give it a shake back and forth and up and down until the two serums are blended together thoroughly.

Step 3 — Toss the ampoule and replace it with the regular silver dropper which you’ll use from now on to dispense your serum before applying.

Step 4 — Glide it on silky smooth with your hands, always being gentle with your skin and focus on the areas that are bothering you the most. You’ll see your skin calmed immediately and restored to it’s healthy state in the coming days and weeks.

Be sure to keep your Advanced Génifique Sensitive stored in a cool place, to protect the power of the antioxidant serum. In fact, popping it in the fridge and applying it cool can really be lovely for summer skin woes, like too much sun exposure for example. The serum will help your skin strengthen itself against UV rays and infrared radiation. But in winter too, when skin is dry and compromised, use Advanced Génifique Sensitive to face the freeze.

Every woman should have Advanced Génifique Sensitive in her beauty arsenal. I picked one up to store away for the next time bad skin days come around. When they do I won’t sweat it, and instead can bid them au revoir and put my best face forward again!

<![CDATA[Fresh Makeup Ideas for Spring]]>

Spring arrived fashionably late as of several days ago, but no one is mad, just glad that it’s finally here! I suppose those April showers did all the city’s plants some good. We are in full bloom with cherry and apple blossoms covering every corner. The park behind Notre Dame, the trees below the Eiffel Tower, even just right outside my metro stop are pink blooming clouds, lightening everyone’s mood for the morning commute along with the rising temperatures.

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But my favorite place to inaugurate spring is at the Parc de Sceaux, a beautiful chateau at the edge of Paris surrounded by lush grounds and even a grand canal to liken to Versailles. But the best spot here this time of year is the cherry tree orchard with rows and rows of blooming trees for all of Paris to come and picnic beneath.

It’s amazing how the change of seasons can change my mood…the whole city’s really. The sun trickling through the trees making the blossom shadows dance on our faces, and as we lay on our picnic blanket below we remarked on how it seems everyone in Paris is extra cheerful the past couple days. I, for one, am suddenly full of fresh ideas, for work, outfits, and more. Makeup is no exception. I wanted to lighten my look to match my mood, strip back a few layers, add some color…

Feeling inspired as I am I thought I would share a few of those ideas with you here. Some recent favorites I’ll be freshening up my look with that you might love too…

Skin Feels Good — For warmer months I like to switch to a lighter option for foundation. With the sun back out I feel easing up on the foundation is a more youthful and modern look. Skin Feels Good is the perfect full foundation alternative complete with SPF to protect skin from more time outdoors, while moisturizing and helping to even out your complexion without covering it up.

Le Teint Macaron — I think the perfect cheerful look to compliment fresh natural skin you’ll have with Skin Feels Good are rosy pink cheeks. I love cream blushes for their color pay off, brushless application, and dewy finish. Bright pinks are a perfectly sweet look for spring and Le Teint Macaron from the Lancôme spring collection is extra adorable!

L’Absolu Rosy Plump — This is fast becoming a new favorite! While I love matte looks for winter I think something glossier for spring feels bright and fresh. It has a sheer rosy tint paired with an instant plumping effect and moisturizing properties thanks to castor oil. It’s the perfect gloss to enhance your natural beauty and couple with a light and airy “no makeup makeup look”.

Les Toppings Eyeshadow Palette — Another sweet and fresh makeup idea for spring I’m loving is to top of your look with just a bit of shadow from Les Topping Eyeshadow Palette. This 10- pan eyeshadow palette with creamy colors lets you create a range of looks from pastel to bold and add a touch of color to make any routine look feel fresh for the season!

<![CDATA[The Look of Love — L’Absolu Rouge]]>

I can think of a few romantic ways to spend the upcoming Valentine’s Day in Paris. There’s of course all the best clichés: a five star hotel, a night at the opera, dinner at a Michelin star restaurant. And while some might like to go all out for Valentine’s Day, maybe there’s no need to fuss? Sometimes the simplest gestures are the most romantic: a tiny love note slipped into your purse, a single red rose on the nightstand, the perfect bottle of wine to share at home.

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The same goes for makeup, maybe less is more this Valentine’s Day. It is the French way after all. Does an utterly romantic look take anything more than the perfect red lipstick? L’Absolu Rouge in Caprice for example. Perhaps a bit of liner for accentuating your cupid’s bow to achieve your best pout…and c’est tout. No fuss, no planning. Just simply sexy and simply timeless.

There is something undeniably sexy about red lips. Red is the color of love and passion, as intense as it is classic. Red lips have a way of whispering kiss me…but not too soon. Almost too perfect to touch, demanding attention until the moment is just right to lean in, because once you do there is no turning back.

The power of red lipstick to attract a mate has long been known. In 1770, British Parliament passed a law forbidding women from wearing it, arguing its powers to seduce men into marriage could be likened to witchcraft. And while times have changed, the seduction of red lipstick remains. Studies show that men are still entranced by it today. So much so that on average, they’ll stare 5.2 seconds longer at a woman wearing red lipstick than when she isn’t.

So if your aim is to catch the eye of that special someone this Valentine’s Day, no need to tempt fate waiting for Cupid’s arrow to match with your mate. Just take a look at the facts and you’ll see, a bit of L’Absolu Rouge might be all it takes. But wearing lipstick isn’t always about men, and Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be either. True love or self love, love is all around on Valentine’s Day and enveloping your lips in rich satiny red is the best way to embrace it. If you haven’t fallen for “the one” by the 14th, you can still fall for one of the ten new shades of Lancôme’s L’Absolu Rouge lipstick, and your lips will too. Not just for the extra attention they’ll receive, but for the nourishing formula that leaves them even softer and more kissable each time…just in case Mr. Right shows up last minute. Single or smitten, L’Absolu Rouge is the look of love this Valentine’s Day.

<![CDATA[Dreamtone & Génifique: Fighting Off Winter Skin Woes]]>

When it comes to winter, as long as I can cozy up in a warm café to write, bundle up for a nice stroll in my favorite places or pamper myself at home while I wait for warmer weather, I for one don’t mind the cold in Paris. My skin on the other hand doesn’t take such a graceful approach to the season.

A perfect complexion has never come easily, most of all when the forces of nature are against me. I love to go foundation-free when my skin is at its best, meaning an even surface and tone. Even with makeup though, we all know a great complexion is an ideal base. Between December and March such skin seems a lofty goal. Old Man Winter’s icy wind zaps away moisture and the sun rarely shows her face to give us a bit of a glow. Suddenly, fine lines appear in places they’ve never been before and my frost bitten face is rosy in places I don’t consider cute.


Basic moisturizing is the first step to remedying these seasonal beauty woes, but good skin requires more than that. With a synergy of the right products to repair and prevent, Lancôme can give us the beauty break we deserve anytime of year. In three different tones, we can all find our match for perfect pigmentation with DreamTone. In the evening after cleansing, I apply DreamTone before bedtime and sleep soundly as it works its magic to fade dark spots and rid of redness, and even imperfections. In the morning I reapply it everywhere on my face before my moisturizer. Immediately my skin glows with its barely-there tint and its light scent. And those fine lines? Enter Génifique! The perfect winter companion to DreamTone. I use these youth-activating serums for face and eyes each day and night. Their powerful complexes smooth skin and restore radiance, visibly improving its surface and making it incredible to the touch. With these new favorites in my beauty arsenal, I imagine I won’t be too worried come Groundhog Day if winter decides to stick around a bit longer.

There you have it, my first beauty secret of the series! Next time I’ll share with you a dreamy article I’ve chosen from Brides magazine about the delight and romance of Paris. It will certainly put you all in the mood for more about the city on Paris Rendez-vous this season…

<![CDATA[Winter Skin Remedies: Advice from an Expert]]>

Last week the temperature here in Paris dropped to below freezing. It’s simple science, I’m sure you know, but temperatures so low mean all moisture in the air freezes, leaving the humidity at 0%. As I am sure those of you in cold climates know, this is bad news for skin. Every year at this time, I find myself re-calibrating my skincare routine to deal with seasonal problem issues.

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But this year I actually went straight to an expert aesthetician to find out exactly what’s happening to our skin in winter and what we can do. She happens to be a good friend of mine. Natalie and I met on our first day of university here in Paris and she has since gone on to become an amazing aesthetician. She’s also had her fair share of Paris and New York City winters.

According to Natalie, winter skin is the issue on the agenda with all of her clients this time of year. She broke down the science behind dryness, redness, and breakouts in winter by explaining to me barrier function. Barrier function or (lipid bilayer) is the layer of skin that prevents water loss by trapping water molecules for hydration. When skin gets too dry in winter, this protective barrier can be damaged and as a result skin becomes inflamed, dry, and hypersensitive to outside environmental toxins which make you sunburn easier, breakout, or prematurely age. Yikes! So what can we do? Here are her expert tips in her own words..

  • Lifestyle — I over-emphasize staying hydrated during winter to clients. We tend to drink hot, caffeinated, sugary, beverages during the holidays and throughout the winter to stay warm, but in turn these will dehydrate your skin. Drink lots of water. Add a splash of lemon to keep your pH balanced, and add some berries if you feel like a treat. They’re great food for skin.

  • Cleansing — Alternate cleansers in winter to avoid over drying skin. Rotate your normal gel cleansers with a resting cleanser that is a gentle or cream formula. It’s also important to exfoliate 2-3 times a week in winter to rid of dry, dead skin. Another great winter home remedy is oil cleansing once or twice a week to pull out impurities, remove makeup, and refine texture. Oils like almond, jojoba, and sunflower oil (but never coconut oil) can be massaged around the skin for several minutes and removed with a warm wet washcloth.

  • Hydrating & Moisturizing — Skin can have proper moisture but still be dehydrated; for this I strongly recommend using a product with hyaluronic acid before applying moisturizer. Hyaluronic Acid is a humectant that our skin produces naturally for hydration, but is also responsible for wound healing.

Natalie White, New York based aesthetician

Based on Natalie’s expert insights, which products would I recommend to fend off winter skin woes? For starters, a cream cleanser has been doing wonders for me. My personal favorite is actually a combination of both of Natalie’s cleansing tips, the Crème Douceur Cream-to-Oil Massage Cleanser is just what skin needs right now. Remember, don’t shy away from cleansers like this if you have breakouts. Proper moisture will actually prevent them by preventing excess sebum production that clogs pores. It also helps heal any broken skin from current breakouts. Secondly, the Hydra Zen range is a go-to for helping skin stay hydrated as well as moisturized (two separate things, remember!) with that Hyaluronic Acid Natalie mentioned. The Night Masque is amazing for overnight hydration that you can follow up with in the morning with your regular moisturizer. With these and Natalie’s other tips in practice, we might be able to kick winter skin issues off the calendar entirely before the season even officially arrives!

<![CDATA[Beat the Heat Parisian Style]]>

Is it too soon to talk about summer? Not here in Paris. Last week the city was sweltering with the thermostat up in the eighties! Everyone’s new favourite spot here to beat the heat is definitely the newly expanded Parc des Rives de Seine along the banks of the Seine, now open to the public year-round. It’s the perfect place to catch a breeze and cool off by the water, not to mention a pretty picturesque place for a picnic!

Paris Rendezvous

In addition to knowing where to go, beating the heat like a Parisian takes a bit of style. For us ladies, a light cotton dress, some colourful sandals, and a chic brimmed hat to keep the sun off our face is a winning combination.

When it comes to beauty though, warmer temperatures can be trickier. Sun, sweat, humidity, swimming and so on…when the temperatures rise it’s time to break out the summer beauty secrets to get by. Here are my favorite Lancôme products that will have you covered when things start to heat up. With Memorial Day stateside on the way as the unofficial kick-off of summer, you’ll be needing them there too!

BIENFAIT UV SPF 50+ — I can’t emphasize enough protecting your skin, especially your face, from the sun this time of year. This super fluid facial sunscreen is light weight and oil-free so it won’t clog your pores or grease up your makeup. It’s also water resistant, so a bit of sweat and swimming are no problem.

GRANDIÔSE WATERPROOF — No need to abandon your glamorous lashes this time of year for fear of them running down your face. Opt for the waterproof version of Grandiôse formula to avoid smudging and smearing.

SOURCILS GEL — Brows are really a tough one in the summer, but if you swap out your pencil for a Sourcils Gels waterproof formula even some sun and sweat can’t beat down your brow!

DUAL FINISH FOUNDATION — The dual part of this powder is the ability to apply it when wet, almost like a liquid foundation. So whether you’re stepping out of the pool or trying to bring down the shine on a hot day, a little humidity will actually help this powder look great on your face!

TEINT IDOLE ULTRA 24H LONG WEAR FOUNDATION — On a long summer day it’s almost certain that the heat will beat your foundation, but Teint Idole Ultra Wear 24H’s coverage is formulated to fight through even the longest and hottest days so you can still get lightweight full coverage even in summer.. touch up free. It also has SPF 15 to protect your skin.

P.S. If you’re wondering what this book is in the photos it’s a great new book by my friend, Lindsey Tramuta, called “The New Paris”. If you love Lancôme’s hometown as much as I do you’ll have to check it out!

<![CDATA[Ban the Boring! Juicy Shakers Are Here!]]>

Shake shake shake, dab dab dab! What’s all this buzz about? Perhaps by now you’ve caught wind of Lancôme’s newest lip revolution, and I’m here to tell you the hype is real! I don’t like to play makeup favorites, but the truth is I’m totally addicted to the new Juicy Shaker lip oils.

Paris Rendezvous

Combine the iconic Juicy Tubes of the 90’s with the original Lancôme Cocktail Shaker lipstick from the 1940’s, then add a little modern magic and voilà! you have Lancôme's new Juicy Shakers in 20 delicious shades here to ban the boring, nourish your lips, and keep the color on the go.

The truth is, I’ve been dying to tell you about the new Juicy Shakers for a while now! Two months ago at the beautiful Lancôme press evening in Paris, I had the pleasure of watching Lancôme’s Global Creative Makeup Director, Lisa Eldridge, reveal this exciting spin off. From the moment I tried them, I knew they would be the next biggest and brightest thing, but my tongue was tied until they were released in the States! And now, the gloss is finally out of the tube and into these fun new shakers with a cushion applicator. Let me tell you more…


They’re as delicious as they look! These lip smackers taste and smell amazing with fruity inspired flavors to make your lips lovely and your mouth water. A few of my favorites are Lemon Explosion, Berry Tale, Apri-Cute, Mangoes Wild, and the limited edition Mint to Be in an intriguing shade of blue that actually goes on clear with a touch of sparkle.

They make your lips extra luscious. Juicy shakers are made of a bi phased formula that pairs nourishing lip oils with beautiful pigments, giving your lips an extra plump glossy effect. I feel like my pout is extra luscious as I layer them on. They are everything I love about a lip stain with the shine of a gloss.

The cushion applicator is heavenly, and fool proof.It’s super pleasant to the touch when applying, and also soaks up a ton of the pigmented oil and gloss to deliver it straight to your lips. You’ll never go outside the lines, and a little dab, dab, dab action lets you layer as you like.


Shake them up! Just like when you’re mixing a cocktail, give your Juicy Shakers a good shake before applying to mix up the bright pigments and nourishing oils inside. It’s part of the fun!

Mix and match! Juicy Shakers are all about having fun, and you can double and even triple the fun by mixing and matching different colors to layer and create so many different shades. My outfit yesterday was a raspberry colored dress and a lavender sweater, so I mixed two shades to get the perfect hue to pair with my look du jour.

Pair them with a dewy foundation and a bright blush. A light weight foundation like Miracle Cushion is the perfect amount of coverage to go with Juicy Shakers, and Lancôme’s bright new Cushion Blush will be the extra punch of color you need to compliment any Juicy Shakers shade. The three together are the perfect light weight, casual, and cute spring and summer look.

<![CDATA[Maison Lancôme: A Journey to the Source of the Finest Ingredients]]>

To celebrate the release of the new Maison Lancôme fragrance collection, I thought I would take you all on a little journey. In fact, that’s what I love about perfume. It’s not just an olfactory experience, but almost a way of being transported to taste and feel a place too. This was my experience recently at the Lancôme Institute on the Rue Faubourg Saint Honoré, when I stopped in to smell the Maison Lancôme fragrances for myself.

Paris Rendezvous

I reached first for Lavendes Trianon. Its name caught my eye because lavender is one of my favorite scents since I was a little girl, and also happens to come from one of my favorite places in France and the entire world — Provence . But my journey with this fragrance was not just through its scent. In fact, just a few days later, I knew I would be returning to the region for a little trip with my family. The fine lavender that is the base for Lavandes Trianon is as precious as this place that it grows. Provence is covered with fields of lavender in spring and summer, the scent of which is carried by the famous Mistral breeze throughout its villages and landscapes. In late summer once fully grown they are cut, and we arrived just in time last week to get some bundles from the 2016 crop harvest by the monks at the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque

Fine lavender, unlike ordinary lavender, can only be grown above 1000 meters, which is why you will find much of it on the Plateau de Valensole . My first visit years ago took my breath away, the hills blanketed in purple as far as the eye could see. It takes no less than an entire hectare of these fine lavender fields to make just ten liters of essential lavender oil, obtained through a process of distillation. Lavender has such a fresh and light smell, somehow floral and herbal all at once. I love how it has been blended with hints of vanilla for my gourmand (indulgent) side into a fragrance that will always lift my spirit the way Provence itself does. When I returned to there last week, I took my Lavandes Trianon along with me, almost like a little pilgrimage home to its very source.

I tell you about this place and this lavender not just because they are majestic, but to show you how truly precious each ingredient selected for this range of scents are. They are the story of France, and this is just one chapter of the many notes thoughtfully sourced and artfully blended in the French capital for the Maison Lancôme fragrances by some of the greatest contemporary perfumers of our day. The best ingredients combined with an artful blending is why they are called Grand Cru Fragrances , just as you would refer to the finest wines.

These beautiful blends are bottled into precious glass and gold flacons designed by artists Alex & Marine, a fitting capsule for the masterpieces they are. Through them we can see just how the abundance of France inspired Lancôme founder, Armand Petitjean, to start a fragrance house so many years ago, and the Maison Lancôme collection certainly carries on that dream.

<![CDATA[Spring Fling: Getaway to the French Countryside]]>

Ahhhhhhhh…..Spring is here and aren’t we all breathing a small sigh of relief? At the end of winter it’s like a weight has been lifted from our shoulders. It’s the perfect time to pack light (leave the coats behind!) and head south for a little spring fling. That’s exactly what I did this weekend. The chance to get out of Paris with some friends for a few days was just what I needed to welcome the season. Just a short drive into the french countryside, we checked into a gorgeous chateau with a few dozen friends. I found myself outside in just a tee shirt for the first time this year, lying in the sun spreading my wings like the little birds that sang to us all weekend.

Paris Rendezvous

And what else does one do to pass the time in the french countryside? Wine tastings, horseback riding, reading, napping, you name it. Food is certainly a focus at any large gathering in France. Leisurely days are punctuated with hearty home cooked meals gathering everyone around the table together. On Sunday you might pop out to a local flea market in a nearby village, but almost everything you need you’ll find right here at the chateau, friends, food, and fun. But strolling around the grounds to discover the new spring blooms is one of my favorite things. It’s so nice to take the time to marvel at the smallest wonders of nature blooming about to color the campagne. That’s how we do spring break à la française.

And speaking of packing light for a spring adventure of your own, right now Lancôme is offering convenient travel-sizes of some of their most popular products! That way you’re covered at home and on-the-go. Get ready for your next getaway with these travel essentials!

<![CDATA[Dual Finish — A Photographer’s Friend + My Photogenic Tips]]>

Multitasking? I happen to know a thing or two about that. For example, directing and posing for a photoshoot at the same time. It’s much easier said than done, but it’s how I capture stories to bring to you here each week.

Paris Rendezvous

As a photographer, I spend many days in Paris behind the camera. But as a long time blogger, the rest are spent on the other side of the lens. My beauty tip from each end is one and the same - Dual Finish Foundation. It’s as good at multitasking as I am, and comes with a puff and a sponge so you can apply it dry or wet for sheer or full coverage. Where my camera goes, my Dual Finish always follows for quick touch ups and serious shine control before being photographed.

When it comes to the rest of my expert advice, over the years, this dual role as photographer and model has given me a unique perspective on beauty. I believe anyone can look amazing in a photograph. Yet as soon as I take out my camera, many women I know immediately voice their insecurities. To be honest, it makes me sad. I found myself in this exact situation at a dinner party the other night. As I went to snap her portrait, my friend started to panic. So right then and there I decided to share my tips for posing for pictures. With a few tricks of the trade she could immediately see the difference before and after. Her camera confidence was completely boosted and the result was darling photographs of a birthday celebration we’ll never forget.

I want every woman to feel beautiful enough to have her picture taken, because she is. So I’ve decided to share those same tips with you here. Give these a try and I promise that next time the camera comes out you’ll be looking your best and feeling yourself in front of the lens.


Find your light. Most people think this means they can’t hide their imperfections, but in fact it’s just the opposite. Lots of light in a photograph washes out flaws and rids of unflattering shadows.

Move around. Don’t stand static and stare straight at the camera. Get into action and take lots of photographs. You’ll find movements in between “poses” often turn out best and look most natural.

Instead of “cheese”, repeat A - E - I - O - U. One of the oldest tricks in the book. Repeating the vowels creates lots of different expressions on camera and one is bound to suit you.

Define your jaw line. Relax your shoulders to elongate your neck. If you’re being photographed from straight on, without exaggerating too much, stick your head out just slightly towards the camera and drop your chin a bit. This takes practice but does wonders for bone structure.

Know your angles. Have a browse through photographs of yourself and make note of your best angles. While subjective, the important thing is you’ll be more confident when you use them next time you pose, which is really what makes all the difference.

Cheat to the side. 2D on camera is always less flattering than real life in 3D, so if you’re worried about your silhouette, turn to one side a bit by about 30 degrees. It’s slimming.

Be yourself! That’s to say, don’t try to pose like a super model unless you are one. You’re gorgeous just as you are so embrace you’re personality and let your true beauty shine.

<![CDATA[Promaskinating with Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Sheet Mask]]>

Do you ever have those days where you wake up, look in the mirror, and just feel your skin is duller than usual? Or perhaps those times you get home from a long day, take a look at yourself, and wonder where did the glow go? Of course you do, because you’re human.

Our skin deals with a lot. Sun damage, pollution, heat, cold, hormones, stress…whatever life and the elements throw at us. It’s just doing it’s best to keep up, and from time to time, it falls behind and needs a little helping hand. It could be lack of sleep, too much sun, that time of the month. Sometimes we know just what’s up. Other times it’s just another one of the mysteries of life. But whenever I’m down on my complexion I tend to get a bit down on my day, and know it’s time to procrastinate and take some time for self care. A day off, a night in, or a lazy Sunday around the house should suffice, especially combined with Lancôme’s new Advanced Génifique Mask!

Advanced Génifique is Lancôme’s fast-acting anti-aging serum that reveals smoother, more radiant skin. From the bottle, the serum is an amazing start to any beauty routine that helps with radiance, elasticity, firmness, and even skin tone and texture. Many women love using this serum every day as part of their daily routine. But Advanced Génifique’s fast acting properties also make it the perfect ingredient for an SOS mask, which is why Lancôme infused it into this new hydrogel sheet mask extraordinaire!

Each individual mask contains the same amount of Bifidus extract as an entire 30ml bottle of Advanced Génifique. As the flexible mask melts onto your skin, it cocoons your complexion with the serum to strengthen and protect its moisture barrier. Since you’ll need at least ten minutes to let it do its work, now is the time to take a time-out — the perfect excuse to kick back with a good book, take a nap, paint your nails, meditate…whatever your cup of tea is to care for yourself. Let’s call it promaskinating: putting things off for a while to treat yourself and your skin.

Take ten minutes, or hey, why not take the whole morning? Whatever you need. When you’re done you’ll notice a little rest and the Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Sheet Mask will have left your skin radiant, smooth, and plump thanks to its amazing hydration benefits. It even reduces the appearance of pores! Take it from a me, a little promaskinating never hurt anyone. What’s the rush? Take care of yourself and your skin with a time-out and the new Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Sheet Mask and you’ll find yourself more ready than ever to face what’s next!

<![CDATA[Rendez-vous with Tokyobahnbao]]>

A girl with a pseudonym like Tokyobahnbao is destined to have some personality, and after many years of following her online, I was looking forward to finally meeting this creative artist turned blogger for a Paris Rendez-vous.

As always, I’m a little shy meeting people for the first time, but striking up conversation with someone as friendly as Tokyobahnbao was easy. “What did you think of Lancôme’s collaboration with Albert Elbaz?” I asked the artist. “I loved it!” Elbaz’s colorful and quirky designs decorating Lancôme’s packaging reminded me a bit of Tokyobahnbao’s own illustrations. The fashion blogger is known as much for her art as for her outfits. From fashion personalities to food and more, her published comics (and those just for fun) are equal parts cute and clever. With “Globe-trotteuse” and “Serial Shoppeuse” she has carved out a niche for fashionistas in a genre usually dominated by superheroes. On her website she shares drawings ranging from those of her favorite Paris spots to head-to-toe looks from both street style and the runways.. Lucky for those of us yet to become Francophiles, she translates her adorable blog into English as well.

Paris Rendez-vous

I was curious to know about her life as an artist in Paris.

“I get inspiration from everywhere, but particularly just people I come across in real life.”

During Fashion Week she’s lucky enough to be invited to her favorite shows, “but even when it’s not Fashion Week there are so many stylish people to inspire me here” she says. I asked her how she works: “I sketch out my drawings by hand and then scan them into a digital format. Using Photoshop and a tablet, I color and shade them. That’s where they really come to life.”

When it comes to coloring inside the lines, one can’t help but notice Tokyobahnbao knows a thing or two about makeup, with her perfected winged liquid liner and gorgeous complexion.

“As I get older I tend to dress a bit more simply,” she tells me while wearing an outfit that can be described perfectly as Parisian chic. “I still play with my makeup though, in particular my lips.”

It was serendipitous: This day I happened to come with a little gift for her. Something new from Lancôme, L'Absolu Crème de Mat: a velvety cream lip color that glides on smoothly like a gloss and stays on like a lip stain. Coincidentally it paired beautifully with her accessory du jour — a beautiful leather satchel in the same berry shade.

After an afternoon of getting to know one of my favorite Parisian fashionistas and artists, I couldn’t help but think maybe our makeup is a way to bring out the artist in each of us…

<![CDATA[The New L’Absolu Rouge: A Fresh Update for a Lancôme Classic]]>

They say lipstick changes everything, and I couldn’t agree more. It can completely makeover your mood, and your look. In that spirit, Lancôme decided to give their L’Absolu Rouge lipstick a little makeover of its own. Don’t worry though, no one has gotten too carried away! This Lancôme staple and favorite is as iconic as it has ever been. A few small changes have gone a long way and if you’re like me, they’ll only make you love L’Absolu Rouge even more!

Paris Rendezvous

First off, there’s a sleek new design. Nothing makes me feel more like a woman than wrapping my lips in satiny color. There is just something so feminine about it. The new packaging opens with a click, making it even more secure and yet easy to open, and adding a fun little flick to the act of applying lipstick. Just press the rose emblem and it pops right open for you.

Then, there are new colors of course, making a grand total of forty-four shades! A whole spectrum for your luscious lips from plum to nude to bright pinks and reds, all with that same amazing color payoff L’Absolu Rouge has always delivered. And for the finish, a range of choices in sheer, cream, and matte options mean there is something for everyone, every occasion, and every look.

Some things haven’t changed though, like most of your favorite colors (Capirice anyone?) and an amazingly moisturizing formula that is ultra luxurious for your lips. That means L’Absolu Rouge never dries out your lips even with its all day wear, thanks to antioxidant-rich Vitamin E and moisture-boosting Pro-XylaneTM. Its hydrating formula is extra replenishing meaning your lips look and feel healthier with it day after day.

So what are my favorite shades of the new L’Absolu Rouge? Trust me, with forty-four options it’s not easy to choose! In fact, I haven’t even had the chance to try them all just yet. But a real stand out for me is Champagne, a pétillant pink with just the right amount of sparkle and a creamy finish. I love it for day or night. For an every day red to achieve the utmost Parisian pout, Lie de Vin is fast becoming a favorite too, in its sheer formula that you can build depending on the desired coverage. Lastly, for something soft and neutral, Café Parisien is a creamy beige with a hint of blush in a matte finish that won’t dry out your lips and is perfect for any casual look. Not a day goes by in Paris now that I don’t have one of my favorite shades or two on hand in my purse. I absolutely love the new L’Absolu Rouge and I think you will too...

<![CDATA[A Signature Scent — Tips for Choosing & Wearing Your Favorite Fragrance]]>

I feel like there comes a certain time in every woman’s life where by now, she should have a signature scent. Of course it’s subject to change. After all, it’s a woman’s prerogative to become whoever she wants to be, and her scent should reflect that. But those sort of changes take years, and so her fragrance might be one she sticks with for years at a time as well. It’s fun to change for a special occasion here and there, but our signature scent is the one we reach for on any ordinary extraordinary day without hesitation. It will come to define us, to those who are near us, to those who love us, and most of all ourselves, our memories and emotions. Smell is the strongest sense tied to memory.

Paris Rendezvous

This summer I travelled to Grasse, the fragrance capital of the world right here in France, and had the great fortune of meeting a world class nose — a woman no less and a true poet in every sense of the word. Her name is Céline, and while there I spent some time talking to her about fragrance and women, how she composes scents, and more importantly for me and you - how to choose the right fragrance and the ways in which we can wear it. I absolutely loved what she had to say and I wanted to share her tips here, some of which surprised me. I hope they will surprise and delight you too, and come to mind the next time you chose a new scent or put on your favourite fragrance.

How to Chose a Signature Scent

Follow your nose only, and don’t get caught up in wordy descriptions. Never start by applying a scent directly to your body. Smell the bottle, then use a fragrance strip, and then and only then if you like, permit it on your skin.

• Choosing a fragrance is like choosing a partner. It’s the life of a couple, if you will, and in order to chose the partner you must spend some time together before you commit. Try your fragrance first and spend a day with it and see how it goes. This way you’ll know if you’re a good match in life.

Read a fragrance like a story. Perfumes have top, middle, and base notes each which emerge at different times and none of which are there by chance. They have been selected by a nose to tell a story. Take a deep breath and find out what that story is for you, and if it’s one you want to tell the world.

Applying Your Fragrance

• The most common way, of course, to wear perfume is by applying it to behind your ears and wrists. This is perfect for a date. If you’ll be cozying up next to someone they’ll pick up on your fragrance when you move in to wrap your arms around them or lean in for a kiss.

• But there are more effective ways of dispersing your fragrance evenly and gently like spraying it in your hair. Spraying your hair with your scent will leave a beautiful trace of your fragrance everywhere you play with it or move about and it blows in the wind.

The second way is to apply your fragrance to your stomach. This may seem odd but it’s quite effective. Your fragrance will evenly permeate your clothing, and as loved ones go to embrace you, air travels upward through your clothing carrying with it your signature scent.

Don’t forget, if you’re in the market for a new scent stop by a Lancôme counter to experience La Vie Est Belle L’Éclat. It has certainly enchanted me… ]]>
<![CDATA[Amour is in the Air — 5 Ideas for a Fabulous Valentine’s Day]]>

They say heaven is where the chefs are Italian, the mechanics are German, the police are British, and the lovers are...French. If that’s true, it’s just another reason why I am lucky to have landed in such a place as Paris. I’m particularly excited for Valentine’s Day this year as I’ve got a special someone to share it with — yes, I finally fell head over heels in love for a Frenchman of my own!

Paris Rendezvous

That being said, I believe Valentine’s Day is for everyone…not just the lovers! It’s a day to celebrate love of all kinds, between family, friends, lovers, and even on your own with that ever important self-love! No matter who you decide to share the day with, I thought I would share a few last minute ideas to spread the love and embrace the amour in the air!

Glam It Up — Try one of Lancôme’s gorgeous Valentine’s Day looks this year to catch the eye of that special someone, make yourself feel fabulously flirty, or charm your sweetheart. With the right makeup and attitude, anyone could get struck with a cupid’s bow this St. Valentin…

Gift your Galentines — Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to show your girl friends just how much you love them! So why not do so by gifting them one of the fun and flirty Limited Edition Valentine’s Day L’Absolu Rouge lipsticks in the shape of a heart. Or, the Monsieur Big she always dreamed of all her life in limited edition pink heart packaging!

Valentine’s Apéro — Skip the crowded restaurants and give your Valentine’s Day a French touch by treating your chéri to an intimate apéro prepared with love at home. It’s easy and affordable, and I can tell you everything you’ll need right here in this past Paris Rendez-Vous: The Art of Apéro. Just add some flowers and candles for a bit of romance and voilà!

Self Love Spa Night — Show your self some love and set aside some me time on Valentine’s Day to spoil yourself with a little spa night. Run a hot bath, throw in some rose petals, and pick out your favorite Lancôme mask like the Rénergie Lift Multi-Action mask or Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Sheet Mask. You deserve it!

A French Love Letter — Surprise your sweetie with a letter written in the language of love, French! If you need a tutor or a guide, you can use my easy peasy list of Terms of Endearment en Français and seal it with a kiss of lipstick for a sexy touch.

<![CDATA[Age Is Just a Number — Rénergie Multi-Glow]]>

Do you think age is just number? I’m not so sure yet. By month’s end I will have turned the big thirty, that somewhat nerve-wracking birthday that can be a big source of both stress and excitement. By now I’m supposed to have it all figured out…right? And while some things still remain to be seen, I’ve had a few important epiphanies by now. Like this for example: for all the world’s fixation on youth, I have to tell you I quite like getting older. To be young is wonderful, but to be older and wiser is something just as sweet.

Paris Rendezvous

I like to write about my birthday each year here on Paris Rendez-Vous because as a woman, I know time changes so much for us on the inside and out. With its passing the world outside us causes us to constantly reevaluate how we define ourselves as beautiful, and from the inside, our body seems to ask more of us to take care of our health, and as it pertains to Lancôme, our skin for sure.

Physically now I feel more confident than ever about my looks, for no other reason than that I’ve learned to celebrate the things I love, and embrace the things I know I never will. I’m not envious of the past, with perhaps one exception. When I was younger I would complain to my mother about my plump face and my all too rosy cheeks. She told me that someday I would miss them, and she was right. How do mothers always know?

My face has thinned out quite a bit now, and my rosy glow easily escapes me if I haven’t spoiled my complexion with a healthy diet, rest, and a life of no stress. Both of those are parts of aging, but there’s more factors that define aging skin. Of course we all think of the wrinkles. Some might consider even skin tone too, but then there is that je ne sais quoi. That quality of youthful vibrant skin that we can’t quite define but somehow still see. The radiance that is energetic and full of life…that’s the rosy glow.

But I’m not too worried about that either now, to be honest, as Lancôme has now captured that vital radiance in a jar. Rénergie Multi-Glow is more than just 24 hour hydration and comfort in a non-greasy formula. It’s a rosy tinted formula with just a touch of reflective properties to immediately restore a rosy glow to your skin, and over time nourish it to improve its texture and vitality, for glowing skin with or without makeup. The special ingredient is Schizandra red berry extract, which helps achieve plumper, smoother, and fresher looking skin.

Aging is beautiful — wrinkles, imperfections, all of that. Youthful skin isn’t about not looking older, it’s about looking as vibrant and healthy as ever and Rénergie Multi-Glow helps you achieve just that. So I’ll ask you again, is age just a number? With Rénergie Multi-Glow, I think it is…

<![CDATA[The Runway the Real Way: My Paris Fashion Week Makeup]]>

Fashion Week has come around again in Paris and as usual, it’s such an exciting and inspiring time. I love to see the looks that come down the runway each season as my favorite French designers showcase their new collections. Each time I find myself lusting after new trends in hopes of wearing them soon.

The reality is though that fashion isn’t always as accessible as we would like. With beautiful design and craftsmanship often comes a pretty price tag that can easily break the bank for the average woman. But the challenge to be clever and find ways to recreate my favorite looks always excites me. One of my favorite ways to do so is with makeup.

Fashion week for me is filled with networking, meetings, odd jobs behind the scenes and more. It’s important for me to dress to impress and look and feel in style. But there’s no need to own my favorite looks from the runway to do so. The color stories, textures, shapes, and patterns from the Parisian runways can be reinterpreted and captured with a bit of makeup artistry. Throughout fashion week I’ve been referring to my favorite snapshots from the Spring runways as I do my makeup, infusing elements from my favorite looks into my ensemble du jour with the flick of a brush and the swipe of some lipstick.

Paris Rendezvous

One of my favorite faces this week was inspired by a peach silk look designed by Cedric Charlier. The colors felt warm and welcoming for spring. The texture and cuts were light and airy, and a bit of bronze metallics in the shoes and jewellery completed it with the perfect accents. It inspired me to create a wearable daytime look that was still fashion forward. Blush Subtil Shimmer in Blushing Trésor gave me intense color for sweet cheeks. L’absolu Rouge in Fleur Impressioniste created luscious lips. Color Design Infinité Eye Shadow in Perpetual Pink with a heavy application from the lash line to the brow, and bit under the eye created soft yet bright eyes. And that touch of bronze? Le Stylo Waterproof long lasting eyeliner in Bronze helped define the eyes to complete the look with smokey corners.

Et voilà! My wardrobe basics were all dressed up for my fashion week rendez-vous of the day with my runway the real way makeup look. I hope you’ll be inspired to recreate some of your favorite runway looks this season with your makeup too!

<![CDATA[GRANDIÔSE: Lancôme’s Mascara Innovation Bends the Rules!]]>

We all have that beauty item, don’t we? That one item in our beauty bag we would choose to never go without. Mine is mascara, and apparently I’m not alone there either. Did you know that 70% of us use mascara five days a week, and 30% of us use it every single day?

Imagine if we each get a little of that time back every day, and achieve better results? No curling, no contorting, no clean up. Just perfectly dramatic lashes every time. What a grandiose idea...

It’s possible though! “How so?” you ask. You’ve just got to bend the rules! Enter Grandiôse, the new innovation in mascara from Lancôme. Ready for a lash lesson?

Lancôme worked closely with women to suss out their mascara woes. Curved and round, the eye is the most multi-dimensional face feature. Mastering mascara can be tricky (and messy!). Here’s where the trouble comes in. To hug all our lashes’ curves and apply to both eyes we’ve been...

- crossing the brush over the nose.
- turning the wrist to reach our second eye (opposite of the hand applying).
- switching to our weaker hand.
- contorting to work the wand with the contour of the eye, not just up and down, but forwards and back too.

Paris Rendez-vous

Sounds tideous! Leave it to the innovators at Lancôme to sort out this dilemma. During my six years in Paris I’ve realized it’s the prerogative of the French to make chic effortless. Here’s how they’ve done it with Grandiôse... !

- The first ever swan neck wand bends perfectly to all the curves of the face and eyes with the simple flick of a wrist avoiding your cheek bones, nose, and brows.
- Its precision brush is shorter and smaller in diameter, designed to extend and lift even the shortest lashes, with each bristle petal shaped to grab and curve them.
- The ultra black formula is the perfect pigment for intense eyes, and actually beautifies lashes with native rose cells and its flexible polymer formula that’s silky and long lasting.

Longer, thicker, defined lashes are the key to sparkling eyes, making mascara our daily beauty ally, and Lancôme is the undisputed leader when it comes to lashes. I’ve been loyal to my Définicils for over ten years, and didn’t think it could get much better. But it just did...

<![CDATA[Ô de L’Orangerie: My Summer Scent & A Secret Garden]]>

My habits tend to change with the seasons. I find myself in new corners of Paris when summertime rolls around, drawn outward to open spaces on the edge of the city. But not only just that, a different wardrobe, lighter makeup, and for me even another fragrance.

Paris Rendezvous

Summer is the perfect season for what we call eau de toilette, which is the fancy French way of saying perfume with a weaker concentration of its aromatic ingredients. Long days, warm weather, and a relaxed summer vibe certainly lightens the mood this time of year, so it makes sense that our fragrances are lighter too. Starting now we begin reaching for the eau de toilette version of our usual scent or even a new one. In my case it’s Lancôme’s Ô de L’Orangerie

I love discovering all of the Lancôme fragrances because they are such an essential part of Lancôme’s history. After all, Lancôme began as a fragrance house, launching its first five scents in 1935 at the World's Fair in Brussels. Fast forward to a few weeks ago and I treated myself to a Lancôme set of those darling miniature perfume bottles you often find at Duty Free. Inside was a little bottle of Ô de L’Orangerie, and as soon as I smelled it for the first time I knew this would be my summer scent.

Its fruity floral notes are light and radiant with a hint of citrus from fragrant orange blossoms, evoking the feeling of a serene French garden. And I happen to know just the garden in Paris that might have inspired it. It’s a local’s secret but I’ll share it with you...

In the heart of the Bois de Bologne on the western border of Paris you will find a garden within the woods called the Parc de Bagatelle. Surrounded by golden gilded gates, inside you’ll find a little Shangri-la. Waterfalls run into petite lakes with swans swimming across them, and peacocks roam freely from one precious pagoda to the next, spreading their green and blue feathers to show off for the visitors. Follow another path and you’ll be led to a beautiful rose garden with rows of blooming bushes and trees this time of year. And of course, the beautiful 18th century Orangerie which is a host to all kinds of events. On a summer evening, you can catch classic concerts here, with the sound of Chopin drifting out its beautiful french doors and floating away into the night. Perfectly planted with citrus trees around its perimeter, a little pause beneath them for some shade is an aromatic delight.

If a scent is a story, then Lancôme has many beautiful ones to tell. For me, Ô de L’Orangerie is the perfect way to lose yourself in a summer tale of in this secret French garden at Bagatelle. Smell it for yourself and perhaps it will transport you there...

<![CDATA[Miracle on the Move: Complexion Confidence All Day Long]]>

Some mornings I wake up, look in the mirror, and am ready to face the day. It doesn’t take much. There’s those other days though, the ones where I wake up on the proverbial wrong side of the bed, feeling like it will take a small miracle to put myself together for a full day in the city. Better yet, how about a few tiny miracles throughout the day, compact enough to fit in my purse and take with me on the go? That’s Miracle Cushion, Lancôme’s innovative new liquid foundation with all the convenience of a compact. Follow me for a day and find out…

In the morning I start my day with a bare face, and foundation is the first of my makeup to go on. With my Miracle Cushion, a few firm presses fills up my cushion with enough product to give my face the full coverage I’m looking for when I apply my makeup for the day. No blending necessary. Voilà the first miracle of the day. I’m up, ready, and out!

Paris Rendezvous

I take on a few morning meetings, running between the right bank, left bank, and back again as I tackle my agenda. Then, time for lunch where I usually find myself back at my favorite cafe in the Marais. After running around town, wiping my face with a napkin, and leaning my head in the palm of my hand as I catch up on a bit of work at the table with my laptop, I need a touch up. Just another tiny miracle to get my makeup through the afternoon. A gentle press with Miracle Cushion covers the cushion just enough to give me a sheer refresh on my complexion. Miracle number two of the day.

Onto a few more hours of shuttling around town finishing errands and maybe even having to pose for a few photos or two for the blog. The work day is up and I’ve got a last minute invitation on my phone to dinner and drinks with my favorite people. Time is of the essence and there is none left to pop home and fix myself up. I reach for my Miracle Cushion with just enough foundation already left on it to banish a blemish or two. Miracle number three of the day, my complexion is in tip top condition to carry on into the night.

There it is. One day, three tiny Miracles for a dewey, flawless, and fresh complexion on the go all day long. Three miracles makes a saint, right? Take it from me Miracle Cushion is a godsend for complexion confidence.

<![CDATA[The Gift of Happiness — A Mini Gift Guide!]]>

Oo la la, I can’t believe Christmas is next week and I still have a long ways to work through on my gifting list. Luckily though, the women are the easiest to shop for. I have something in mind for each of them and as soon as the holiday season comes, I’m full of ideas already knowing the most wanted, new releases, and best kept secret amongst the Lancôme goods. That makes it easy to check them off the list! And while I was wrapping up their presents, all shiny and bright, I thought I would share with you a mini gifting guide that might come in handy as the last days of the advent fall off the calendar!

Paris Rendezvous

Le Monochromatique, $25- This has got to be perfect gift this year. For twenty-five dollars you you can spoil someone with adorable new release from Lancôme! Le Monochromatique is a compact cream-to-powder three-in-one that comes in multiple colours and finishes and can be applied to eyes, cheeks, and lips! It’s perfect for sisters or friends who like to keep their makeup simple and fresh, and have an easy product she can throw in her bag and reach for for whatever she needs.

L’Absolue Rouge x Camila Coelho, $32- This is the perfect gift for sisters and friends that are fashionistas. Not only do they surely already know and love fashion and beauty blogger Camila Coelho who co-created the collection, but they’ll be delighted by the pretty red packaging and fun lip shaped bullet! With plenty of standout colors and finishes to choose from it is the perfect gift for you most stylist and fashion forward friends and family.

Starlight Sparkle Eyeshadow Palette, $80- The eyeshadow palette with 13 colours is the perfect gift for the beauty junkie in your life! Not only do they love having tons of colours and finishes available to them to create a range of looks, but they’ll also love owning this limited edition palette from Lancôme. My favorite thing about this palette are the sparkly gold, silver, and black finishes that she can use all winter to long to make her makeup look really shine.

Advanced Génifique Limited Edition, $178- Spoil your mom or grandmother with this well deserved treatment for her skin in a beautiful bright red holiday packaging. It will be the perfect first step to her beauty routine to help reveal her inner radiance through this youth activating serum packed with nourishing and revitalising extracts. Treat her to this and you’ll really make her feel like a queen!

Voilà! And if you don’t really don’t want to go it alone working your way down the list, take a peak at Lancôme’s gifting section with tons of beautifully packaged ideas for gifts and and sweet little sets that will make own woman smile on Christmas morning in her stocking her under the tree. But remember, the best gift is happiness no matter the occasion. Rejoice in sharing a moment, a hug, a smile, or a wish with those you love and it is sure to be a happy holiday for all!

<![CDATA[Hydra Zen: 24 Hour Stress Free & Hydrated Skin]]>

For me, the last several weeks have been non-stop travel. Days on airplanes and nights crashing on friend’s and family’s couches have left me and my skin exhausted and stressed. When I’m away for a while, like I have been recently, I miss relaxing at home in Paris and having the time to keep up with my skincare routine. My skin misses it too, and it’s been showing. So what’s a girl to do?

Paris Rendezvous

When I landed in Los Angeles this week I headed straight to a facial. It’s not something I usually treat myself to but once or twice a year it’s great to check in with an esthetician and see what your skin is in need of. “Are you hydrating enough?” Kelly asked. I sure thought I was, I use a moisturizer every morning. But she told me that moisturizing and hydrating aren’t the same.

In fact, you might be surprised to learn that moisturizers merely provide moisture to the surface of the skin. Hydration products however go deeper to infuse water content into your skin at a cellular level, plumping and smoothing. There is a difference, and an ideal skincare regimen (in the coming winter months most of all) involves hydrating after cleansing, and then following up with a moisturizing product that helps lock in all that great hydration by covering the epidermis. I was so surprised!

So post facial I checked into my hotel for an evening of rest and relaxation with me, myself, and Lancôme’s new Hydra Zen. I knew it’s been flying off the shelves at Lancôme, so I had been dying to try it. But until my facial I didn’t know just how badly I needed it!

The Hydra Zen Masque helped me get some serious beauty rest. Apply it before bed time and overnight its intense hydration will work to make your skin more radiant and toned. In the morning, rinse and apply one of the Hydra Zen moisturizing creams to lock in that hydration and further protect and preserve your skin. My favorite is the Hydra Zen Gel-Crème because gel formulas are particularly good at delivering hydration and smoothing skin. For a lighter option, the Hydra Zen Beauty Essence is the perfect balance.

So it turns out a night of good sleep and some serious skin hydration was all I needed during my travels to take me back to the zen of being home in Paris…

<![CDATA[Meet Monsieur Big — How A Mascara Stole My Heart]]>

Have you heard the news? There’s a new guy in town and all the ladies have their eye on him. Did I mention he’s French? Even better. Call him what you want — the best, the biggest, larger than life — call him Monsieur Big.

Paris Rendezvous

Now, there are all sorts of mascaras for different girls. But with lashes, size matters. If you’re looking for BIG volume, then look no further, Mr. Big is Mr. Right. I knew Monsieur Big was THE ONE at first stroke, that fluffy brush, the smooth formula…my heart was racing. One coat and I had forgotten all the rest.

I took Mr. Big out for the first time last Friday night here in Paris for Bastille Day. I could tell right away we were a perfect match for a big night out, a big date, or just to make a big statement. Monsieur Big gives my lashes up to 12x more volume because he’s got all the traits I’m looking for in the perfect mascara — a big soft brush, an ultra black shade, a long wearing formula, and the power to VOLUMIZE. I can stay out all night with Monsieur Big, with this new mascara there’s no flaking, no smudging and no touch ups required. And 24HR wear means he still looks good the morning after.

What makes Monsieur Big so big you ask? He didn’t get so perfect on accident. Lancôme engineered him that way. Innovative wavy bristle fibers give quick volume and sensorial application, and the intuitive brush shape has bulk reservoirs that hold and deliver the right amount of that ultra black formula to your lashes form root to tip, making them look extra long.

If you want to push Monsieur Big to the limits I have a few tips for you to take XL lashes to XXL…

• Curl your lashes — Le Curler gives your lashes a bend and curl before applying your mascara. Curled lashes are flirty and fun, the perfect match for Monsieur Big to work some magic.
• Start with a primer — Cils Booster XL give your lashes a boost of vitamins and micro fibers to add length and thickness as an amazing primer before applying Monsieur Big.
• Go all the way — Don’t stop at your upper lashes, have a go at your lower ones as well for a serious lash statement.

Not sure yet that bigger is better? Since I met Mr. Big let me tell you, all the other girls are jealous. But I told them, don’t be! There is enough of Monsieur Big to go around for everyone. Monsieur Big just launched right here online before hitting stores later this month. Take him home and I know he’ll win your heart too.

<![CDATA[Date Night in Paris — Makeup with M. Big]]>

Oh Paris! Such a romantic city. I can tell you from experience it lives up to expectations on the subject of inspiring love, and as I’m back on the dating scene myself I thought it was high time I share with you some of my favorite date spots in Paris to rendez-vous, with a lover.

Paris Rendezvous

But before I get to that, and before you even get out the door on a hot date, there is always the question of what to wear! This is half the fun and headache of dating of course, fretting your pretty little head over how to look your best for the guy that’s caught your eye. I’m a "less is more" first date style kind of girl. You know, nothing too distracting so you can be yourself above all.

But of course we all want to feel flirty and glamorous, and lately I’m channeling my inner 90’s super model style to strike the perfect balance. For the ensemble, a curve hugging pair of jeans, simple tee, black heels, and silk scarf…but for makeup? Oh bigger is better. Big hair, big brows, big lashes! Enter the Monsieur Big Collection. I couldn’t help but think this collection is the making of the ultimate date night look in Paris or anywhere.

Here’s how Monsieur Big will fix you up for Mr. Right…

Monsieur Big Brow — This soft and creamy brow crayon with a built-in kabuki blending brush to fill in, define and shape brows will give you a big brow look with a soft and natural finish.

Monsieur Big Brow Highlighter — The extra little lift you need to feel dazzling is this brow highlighter. Use it to accentuate your eyebrow arch and a touch to the inner corner of your eyes to feel and look dazzling.

Monsieur Big Eyeliner Marker — A bold cat eye is always a classic fun and flirty look for a date. The chiseled felt tip eyeliner of the new Monsieur Big Eyeliner Marker glides across the lash line to create a bold look in one stroke.

Belle de Teint Mosaic Palette — The piece de resistance, lashes worth flaunting! Your beau will be mesmerized by your flirtatiously long and thick lashes with the Monsieur Big Mascara that give you up to 12X more volume. A heart stopping look for sure…

Now that you know what to wear, where to go? Here’s a few of my favorite dates in Paris…

• Cozy up for romantic movie at La Pagode, a stunning old cinema in the 6th arrondissment.
• Get to know each other over some fine cocktails at The Ritz’s historic Hemingway Bar.
• Prep a parisian picnic to enjoy along the river at the Berges de Seine.
• Catch a sunset together over a glass of wine at Le Perchoir on the rooftops of Paris.
• Grab some Bertillon ice cream and take a romantic stroll around the Île Saint-Louis at night.

]]> <![CDATA[Close Encounter with Louise Ebel]]>

Louise is a young woman whose face many know before her name. On the pages of your favorite magazine or a recent campaign from a French fashion house, her doe-eyed glance and poise aren’t easily overlooked.

Through the years as her alias Miss Pandora, we’ve watched her assume many roles in her photographs, for which she is both a muse and creative director in combination with various photographers. Despite the vast array of costumes, decades and attitudes she’s embodied, one thing stood out to me each time.

Miss Pandora

A signature beauty look of perfectly porcelain skin.

Her complexion is so doll-like I wondered if she was real at all to actually manifest on the afternoon of our rendez-vous. Low and behold she did, and incredibly punctual for a parisienne. Emerging from the Boulevard Montmarte during the harshest of the season’s weather, she was as much a vision as ever. As we headed up to the first-floor retreat of the Haussmanian building that was our location of the day, she recounted openly to me her personal skin woes that any woman could relate to—havoc from the elements and stress of city living. Despite appearance, Louise is a very real girl whose candid manner face-to-face charmed me as much as the allure of her picture-perfect appearance in photographs. As we discussed, she revealed how she manages the two: with a disciplined approach to skincare and a trusty makeup application she has down pat.


1.  Dreamtone
2.  Teint Visionnaire
3.  Dual Finish Powder

Throughout an afternoon of playing with products and posing for pictures, Louise enlightened me to her other passions, art history and writing. You see in a way, beauty is her business, being in front of the camera so constantly. On working on Miss Pandora full time she said, “I feel so lucky. I love what I do. If ever a day comes that I don’t or it doesn’t work, I’ll write books.” Novels that is, stories for young women in America and Asia about Paris and Parisians as dreamy as they imagine both to be. Take it from me that Louise is one of them. Beautiful, stylish and cultured, she is Paris-perfect.

<![CDATA[La Vie Est Belle X Lady Pink]]>

In a little corner of my Parisian apartment I have every single bottle of La Vie Est Belle that I own displayed. The one engraved with my name, the Eau de Toilette, L’Éclat, and so on. There are about ten or so now. Having them on display here not only makes them easy to use whenever I need a bit of perfuming, but also allows me to admire them and remember the philosophy the scent embodies — to make life beautiful by spreading happiness.

Paris Rendezvous

So when the latest limited edition of La Vie Est Belle created with the artist Lady Pink was released, I had to have it to add to my collection of course! If you’re wondering why Lancôme collaborated with Lady Pink on this limited edition version of the iconic fragrance, other than the fact that she is clearly one cool chick of course, allow me to tell you a bit more about Lady Pink.

Lady Pink began making art at a young age back in 80’s. By the time she was a teen she was painting her beautiful murals across New York City subway cars. At a time when graffiti was a boys club she dared to do her thing and played a pertinent role in transforming graffiti into a respected art form. Lady Pink’s many murals in New York City and beyond bring color and creativity to the streets they decorate as a way of spreading art and joy. With themes like rebellion, self-expression, and feminism she has been credited with focusing her art and career on empowering women and sisterhood.

The limited edition bottle Lady Pink created for this Lancôme collaboration is as bold as her artworks. She covered it with bright pink graffiti lettering of La Vie Est Belle, and traded the tulle tie for a neon vinyl version. The playful hot pink version of La Vie Est Belle adds her twist on the essence of this fragrance, to spread and share happiness through self expression. It’s definitely the La Vie Est Belle I’ll reach for on my shelf on days when I need that creative push.

If you’re a fan of Lady Pink’s work you’ll have to get your hands on this bottle. And if you find yourself in Paris, make your way to the Canal Saint Martin area. On the east side of the city here you’ll find some of the city’s best graffiti art with bright, beautiful, and uplifting murals lining the streets and climbing up the buildings. A stroll last weekend around this neighborhood was the perfect time to debut my La Vie Est Belle X Lady Pink fragrance and brighten up a grey winter day with a punch of color. Both are pretty good at spreading happiness!

<![CDATA[Halloween à la française : Chic Makeup-Centric Costumes]]>

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because it’s a great excuse to play with the transformative power of makeup. While it’s a rather anglo holiday, I still celebrate with friends here and am happy to see it gaining popularity in France. I thought I would infuse a little “Frenchness” into some costume ideas for a very chic Halloween! Whether you’re one to plan your costume weeks in advance, or just throw something together last minute, these makeup centric Halloween looks are meant to be easily achieved with items that are likely already in your drawer and closet at home…

Paris Rendezvous

Sorcière (witch)

This is a chic French take on the traditional witch costume. It’s all about eyes so sultry they look supernatural, and dark luscious lips that send chills down the spine. Pair it with a black dress and any black hat and you’ll be bewitching.

You need — Your most extreme mascara, black or grey eyeshadow, black liquid liner, black pencil liner, and your darkest shade of lipstick (I’m wearing Color Design in Bow and Arrow).

How to — Apply shadow to each eyelid and blend well at the crease. Use your liquid liner to create a bold cat eye. With the pencil liner, line the lower and upper waterlines heavily in black. Line the under eyes with a touch of shadow for a smokey look. Apply two to three coats of mascara to the upper and lower lashes for a spidery effect. With the help of a lip brush if needed, apply lipstick and accentuate the points of the lips at the cupid’s bow for a witch-like touch.

Amélie Poulain

Amélie is one of the most adored French film heroines of all time. Her short black hair, fair complexion, ultra expressive brows, and bright red pout are easy to recreate. Pair it with a classic cardigan and you’ll look just like Amelie on her Parisian adventures.

You need — A dark brow pencil, your fairest shade of foundation, your brightest red lipstick, and a wig like mine if you don’t have dark hair.

How to — Apply your foundation heavily for a doll like porcelain effect. Exaggerating the arch and length of your brows, pencil them on heavily with your brow pencil for an almost cartoon like touch. Apply your red lipstick and voilà! It’s that simple.

Magritte Masterpiece

Belgian artist Magritte is known for his surrealist masterpieces. As a massive collection of his work is currently exhibiting in Paris, I was inspired by his strange and discombobulated portraits. Much easier to achieve than his beautiful paintings, this makeup look still captures the essence of his work with a quirky effect perfect for Halloween.

You need — Primer or concealer, a red lip liner, red lipstick, blue or green eye crayon or shadow, a white or light pearlescent shadow, and black liquid liner.

How to — After applying your foundation, camouflage half of your lips to blend in with your complexion. With your lip pencil, slowly draw the outline of off-center lips before filling in with lipstick and the help of a lip brush. On the eyelids, start by priming and creating the whites of the eye. Then create the iris with your colored shadow or lip pencil before using your black liquid liner to add the pupils and eyelashes.

Trying out a few of these looks for Halloween? Here's one last little tip: makeup removal is magically made easy by Lancôme's Bi-Facil double-action formula. When the Halloween festivities are done, just reach for this award-winning makeup remover and you'll be back to your normal self.

<![CDATA[My Summer Road Trip Beauty Essentials]]>

August is the time of the Grand Vacances when most Parisians head out of town to enjoy long summer days, rest, relax, and have some fun. I actually quite like Paris at this time of year, when it’s more calm and quiet, but this August I couldn’t resist the urge to get away and take a fun summer trip!

Paris Rendezvous

So I’ve hit the road with my friend Anna for two weeks to relax and discover a new corner of France we’ve never been. We’re tackling the south-west to discover it’s beautiful beaches, vineyards, food, architecture and more on our road trip.

Our route goes a little something like this — after kicking off in Bordeaux, we spent the night in a gorgeous little chateau bed and breakfast where we felt like princesses and made friends with their darling cat, Moustache. Then we worked our way through a few surf towns on the coast before setting up camp in the Pays Basque near the Spanish border, where we’ve been exploring famous places like Biarritz and Saint-Jean de Luz. I have to say, this is the perfect summer destination. So much to see, eat, and enjoy!

We’ve packed light but of course I couldn’t leave home for two weeks without my summer road trip beauty essentials. Here’s what’s in my beauty cosmetics bag on my summer across the southwest of France…

Visionnaire SPF 20 Day Cream — The perfect skincare partner on this trip to start each morning. This day cream hydrates, plumps, and protects against aging with SPF 20, locking in moisture for 24 hours, perfect for long days out as tourist to nourish and protect from UVA rays. If you’ve been using Visionnaire Crescendo, this is also the perfect partner to protect your vibrant new skin revealed by this gentle Visionnaire peel.

Génifique Advanced Sensitive — Since I had just freshly activated my ampoule, I wanted to get the most out of my month of Génifique Advanced Sensitive. Travel can be tough on your skin so this serum is the perfect partner to keep it healthy and strong on the road.

Energie de Vie Cooling Eye Gel — This has been in my pocket while on the road for when I want to look and feel alert after all that mileage. It illuminates your under eye area with antioxidants and caffeine to refresh and hydrate for instant results that last 24 hours.

Belle de Teint Mosaic Palette — This is a great two in one blush and bronzer that’s perfect for summer packing. I brought mine from Lancôme’s summer collection to add a bit of color to my look and achieve a bronze shade and glow without the sun damage. It’s part of my every day make up on this trip and perfect on my face, neck, and décolletage.

Miel-en-Mousse Foaming Cleanser — I’ve loved this new cleanser so much this summer that I had to take with me on the road! As both cleanser and makeup remover it meant I could simplify packing both into one product instead.

Matte Shaker in Beige Vintage — I fell so hard for this matte shade since my friends at Lancôme recommended it to me. It’s the perfect every day color so if I had to choose one lip product to bring along this was it! The color goes on and stays on strong but also keeps lips moisturized.

]]> <![CDATA[How to Achieve a Dewy Complexion — Dual Finish Highlighter]]>

For me, summer beauty is pretty much all about skin. Warm weather makes me committed to my complexion as I ease up on the foundation and strive for natural daytime makeup looks. On the one hand, there’s definitely a focus on skincare with products like my Miel-en-Mousse Foaming Cleanser and Énergie de Vie Exfoliating Mask, and on the other with my makeup to really achieve the ultimate dewy complexion we all want.

Paris Rendezvous

Dewy complexion? I know, right…way easier said than done. I’m still learning but I’m getting better, so I’ll share a few of my beauty secrets here if you promise that when you get the chance to share, you’ll pass on yours too?

Here’s my latest one — the new Dual Finish Highlighter. These little beauties have been a summer saviour for me. The essence of the Dual Finish products, both the new Highlighter and the original Foundation, is that they’re buildable, able to be applied both wet and dry for different amounts of coverage and different effects. Use it dry for a subtle highlight, or apply damp for more intense illumination.

The same thing happens to all women when we get a new highlighter, we’re all like yipeee! and go crazy with it. Can you blame us? Highlighters are so fun because they have the power to completely transform the face, to make average angles look epic, and to make us look completely angelic in any light. The Dual Finish Highlighter formula is infused with light-enhancing pearls to achieve a beautiful pearly glow available in five stunning shades. Plus, it's infused with Vitamin E & triglycerides for a non-drying formula.

Once you’ve got the new Dual Finish Highlighter handy, give my tips a try for achieving a dewy summer complexion and see how they work for you!

1. Exfoliate before anything else, either with a gentle cloth or exfoliating mask of cleanser.
2. Never ever skip the moisturizer. Be generous and give it time to settle in to your skin.
3. Use a tiny bit of face oil, like Absolue Precious Oil for example to prime your face.
4. Easy on the foundation — just concealer where needed or lightweight like Miracle Cushion.
5. Use Dual Finish Highlighter with the wet cushion to create strong highlights on the cheek bones, bridge of the nose, and outer brow bones.
6. Use Dual Finish Highlighter with a dry brush to give a light dusting over the entire face and décolletage to give a subtle pearly finish.
7. With your finger use Dual Finish Highlighter to highlight the cupids bow, and if you like to brighten the inner eyes. Just a little dab will do!

<![CDATA[What’s in a Parisian’s Purse?]]>

Don’t you just love getting a peek into someone else’s bag? It’s a little glimpse of her daily life, her personality, her beauty routine. I know I’m not the only one who’s a bit cheeky like that. Those “what’s in my bag?” posts are always a huge hit online. Which got me thinking…maybe you would like to know what’s in a French girl’s bag?

Paris Rendezvous

Of course there’s the obvious things: her smart phone, her keys, her wallet. In Paris she’ll have her pass navigo for the metro, a scarf for the cold, glasses for the sunshine, or perhaps a book to read at the park on her lunch break. But since I’m all about beauty, I thought I’d dive into that with a look at her handbag beauty essentials. Curious? Read on!

Without fail you will always find a French woman’s favorite rouge in her handbag. Once upon a time that might have been her favorite shade of red lipstick, but with so many options these days, it could be a gloss or stain, like Lancôme’s Matte Shaker or even a Cream Cushion Blush. She loves anything she can smear and blend with her fingers, and won’t hesitate to use her blush and lippie interchangeably…it’s the Parisian way!

You probably won’t find a hairbrush in a French girl’s bag. They prefer the undone bedhead look. What you will find instead though is a beautiful tortoise hair clip or metallic hair pin, probably from the famous Alexandre de Paris — perfect for throwing her hair up on-the-go in a chic french twist, or chignon as we say in French!

Parisians prefer a more natural makeup look, especially when it comes to foundation. You probably won’t find a powder compact in her purse to banish shine, she likes her dewy glow. So instead she carries a BB or CC cream with light coverage that keeps skin moisturized and protected from the sun.

French girls are all about skincare: morning, noon, and night. Surely she has a beauty pick-me-up or two stashed away in her bag, like her favorite hand cream or Lancôme’s new Énergie de Vie Eye, an illuminating and anti-fatigue cooling eye gel. It’s tiny, so easily tossed in your bag, and glides right on with its on-the-go roller format; definitely a new Parisian handbag essential!

Lastly, you won’t find an emergency stick of deodorant in her purse, more likely her perfume, which she uses generously. Handbag permitting, sometimes she’ll even throw the full size version in on her way out!

<![CDATA[All About Brows: The ABC’s of Shaping & Sculpting]]>

If eyes are the windows to the soul, then eyebrows are the soul’s frame. For most of my life I struggled to get mine right until finally whipping them into shape recently once and for all. And wow...I can’t tell you what a difference it has made in my overall look. If you’re looking to get your brows in tip top shape, here’s why you should and how to do it...

Paris Rendezvous

• Well-shaped brows make our eyes look lifted and more open, and our face alert and rested.
• Properly sculpted brows flatter our face by making it look more angular and shapely.
• As we age, our brows thin out and sometimes go grey. Using makeup to create fuller and darker brows makes us look more youthful.

• Brow Brush — Brushing brows before plucking is essential to proper shaping and the best way to rid of excess foundation that can collect in them before penciling.
• Tweezers — Sharp tweezers save time and allow for precision when shaping. Two advantages of plucking are shaping your brows by tweezing below them, and cleaning them up by tweezing above to remove stray hairs. Be careful though to never get too tweezer happy.
• Micro Scissors — Use micro scissors when a few hairs have grown longer than the others, but never trim too much to maintain a natural look.
• Brow Pencil — Your brow pencil is to fill in sparse spots, darken color, accentuate shape, and add brow length. The key to a natural look is small repetitive strokes in the same direction to mimic hair growth.
• Highlighter — A bit of highlighter on the brow bone adds a bit of extra oomph to further accentuate your arch.

There are three essential points to your brows: the start, arch, and end. Align these points with the help of your brow pencil and the tips below. This should be the guideline for plucking and penciling.
A. To find where your brows should begin, simply follow a straight line directly up from the interior corner of the your eye.
B. Line your pencil up from the corner of your nose and through the iris of the eye to find the ideal arch of your brow. Wherever this line intersects the brow is where your arch should peak.
C. To plot the end point for your brows, line your pencil up from the outermost corner of the nose to the outer corner of the eye. Where this line intersects the eyebrow is where your brows should taper and end.

Les Sourcils Definis — My go to brow product from Lancôme, this pencil twists instead of requiring sharpening, lasts all day, and is ultra fine allowing you to create a natural look.
Sourcils Tint — This product is a fine tip brow marker that is perfect for creating extra bold brows that make a high fashion statement.
Modèle Sourcils — These tinted brow gels are an amazing all in one weapon to darken, add fullness, and sculpt brows so they’re whipped into shape for a casual day in a few seconds flat.

<![CDATA[Miracle CC Cushion — Color Correcting Made Cute & Easy]]>

National Macaron Day last week reminded me of one of my favorite Lancôme discoveries in the last year. Perhaps you’ve seen them too since then? These cute little pastel cushion compacts look just like macarons, sweet enough to eat! They’re actually color correcting face primers, and since primers are becoming all the rage, I thought I would introduce you to my favorite ones and tell you what they’re all about.

At the end of winter especially, or anytime of year really, our skin tone is naturally uneven. Primers play with the color wheel to even out skin tone by correcting and balancing different areas of the face, usually with opposites. The result is an ultra even complexion boosting all the effects of your regular foundation. But instead of leaving you to cover up unevenness, its more about correcting.

So far, I prefer the Miracle CC Cushion Primer because like most cushion products, they’re lightweight, dewy, and easy to apply. Primers go on after your regular skin care routine and before the rest of your makeup, your foundation especially. Here’s how to use the different colors for different effects, a bit of which I learned from Lisa Eldridge’s tutorial where she calls this the macaron method…too cute!

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Green — This is my go-to primer color. I have a very pink and fair skin tone, and while I love that I tend to be especially pink and a bit blotchy in my cheeks. Redness can also come from blemishes, which if you’re human you have struggled with too. The green is great for toning down this redness and pinkness. I use it on my cheeks and any area of I’ve had problem skin with breakouts that have left behind a trace.

Pink — This color of primer is universally great for all skin tones. If you’re skin is looking tired or over worked, a pink primer will help to add some life back into it, giving an effect of luminosity and healthy blood flow to the face, you know…the kind you get right after some good exercise!

Purple — Purple is the perfect primer for very yellow and olive skin tones that are more prone to what we call “sallow skin”, around the eyes especially. Sallow skin is skin that appears a bit too yellow, and sometimes can look dull, unhealthy, or aged. You can use a light layer all over to tone downs sallowness, or focus just on problem areas. You're skin will look brighter and more balanced.

Yellow — This is another great color of primer I tend to use a lot. For those like me with light hair, skin, and eyes, we usually have fair and cool complexions. I like to warm mine up with a light layer of yellow primer. Fair skin can also expose those tiny red and purple blood vessels around eyes or the corners of the nose, and this yellow will help balance out those blues, making them less apparent. Yellow primer helps give an overall glow.

If that’s not enough reason to try a color correcting primer, they also make your foundation last longer, and help to disguise fine lines and pores. Now that you know how to use them, you can pick your perfect Color Correcting Primer

<![CDATA[How to Warm Up Your Winter Makeup]]>

It’s hard to say what time of year I love Paris the most, but I can tell you that a sunny and crisp autumn day strolling the city with my camera is hard to beat. Winter though can be tough, I admit. Especially for a California girl like me who grew up in the sunshine year round. But here on the edge of it, I must admit it does have it’s redeeming qualities. On good days the light can be golden and gentle, dancing on the sandstone buildings as it passes through the last of the leaves left on the trees, now golden too.

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The other is that great excuse to cozy up. When the temperature drops we breakout the layers of plush sweaters for one, maybe even the hats and scarves by now. We switch from iced drinks to hot ones, mine often still to go as I love to stroll and make the most of these crisp shorter days before the coldest-of-days arrive. But when it comes to makeup, it seems to be the exception. As the colder months come around, we tend to switch to darker and cooler shades and I wonder why it has to be that way.

Personally this year, like my bright, cheery, and cozy sweater, or a warm café crème from my favorite coffee shop in the Palais Royal, I’ll take my makeup warmer too. I think in autumn and winter there is something soft and chic about wearing warm tones and a touch of color to your look, especially for day time looks. Bronze, gold, burnt orange and auburn — these are the colours that surround us right now and give us all that cozy feel.

So, I’ve picked a few of my Lancôme favorites from my makeup drawer I’ve been loving warming up my look this winter to share with you too. Break out a bright sweater, order up your favorite hot drink, and give them a try too…

Dual Finish Highlighter in Radiant Rose Gold & Dazzling BronzeThe soft light right now is so majestic cast over Paris this time of year when the sun hangs lower in the sky. As a photographer it makes for beautiful portrait shots with mix of light and shadows, and I love the idea of capturing this effect in your makeup look. The Dual Finish Highlighters are my absolute favorites, and just because summer is gone doesn’t mean we have to lose a gorgeous glow. Right now I love swapping in Radiant Rose Gold for a blush, and adding Dazzling Bronze for a bit of contouring.The result is a rich dewy look that will never look dull.

Matte Shakers in Magic Orange & NudevotionAlong with some very sultry and dark shades, Lancôme has released some new creamy and warm tones too that my girlfriends have been constantly complimenting me on as of late. I’ve been loving Magic Orange and Nudevotion. For daytime their perfect as a light lip stain, and at night layered for bolder more matte long lasting color.

Le Stylo Waterproof in Bronze Folie & Bronze RicheA warm smokey eye is a fuss free way to make your makeup a bit bolder and right now I’m loving all the rich brown tones of Le Stylo Waterproof, like Bronze Folie and Bronze Riche. Simply line your upper lid and taper off in a small wing, then smudge it out with the sponge tip to soften the edge.

<![CDATA[New Skin for the New Year with the New Visionnaire]]>

A new year always gives me the urge to start fresh on so many things. Beauty is no exception and by January winter has has taken its toll on my skin. As a California girl, I wasn’t always so used to the season’s extreme effects on my complexion.

Where I grew up, winter means a sweater and fewer beach days, but in Paris winter is the real deal well into March. Cold air zaps moisture from our skin, leaving it dry and making wrinkles more pronounced, and long gone is the bit of sun kissed glow that helps hide my uneven skin tone in warmer months. But the only thing I want to be flaky and white this time of year is the snow…

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So until the cold goes away and those beautiful spring blooms return to Paris, I need a little something more to pull my peau out of its annual rut. Luckily Lancôme has a new start for me with their new Visionnaire. The second generation of this advanced skin corrector serum has has a Double Jasmonate Complex. In nature plants depend on Jasmonate to protect them from poor environmental conditions, like winter per say! The benefits of it for our skin along with other ingredients in this new Visionnaire is that is helps correct and smooth wrinkles, pores, and skin texture both immediately and over time.

From first application, this serum glides on like silk, making skin instantly smoother and softer. After just several days of use, pores become smaller and skin’s texture becomes more refined. And one month later, skin correction wonders are more visible than ever. So I say bring home those botanicals we’ll be missing outside all winter, and cozy up indoors with Visionnaire for better skin. That’s where you’ll find me!

<![CDATA[City of Lights - Click & Glow]]>

Ever wondered why Paris is called the City of Light? La ville de lumière…the simple and historical answer is that Paris was the birthplace of the Age of Enlightenment. It was the haven for philosophers and academics of the time to exchange and develop ideas. The 18th century movement that boomed in the French capital came to advance ideals like liberty, progress, tolerance and others we still hold so closely today.

Paris Rendezvous

But nowadays, you will almost more often hear Paris called the City of Lights, plural, and it’s not hard to imagine why. Each evening when the sun sets, the city lights up spectacularly. Few details are hidden with the setting sun, brought out by the old lamps lining the boulevards (Paris was one of the first cities to adopt street lighting) and the over 296 street light illuminated churches, statues, fountains and national buildings, monuments, and other structures. Then of course there is Eiffel, twinkling every hour for all those who stop to watch it. For the Eiffel Tower alone, it takes 40 km of illuminated garlands made up of 20,000 sparkling lights to make the famous landmark twinkle, its spotlight at the top turning over the city to be seen from even its furthest corners. With the Seine river at the center of the city, the lights dance on its surface, reflecting back at us from its waters.

All those kilowatts really work their magic on this city, illuminating all its architectural charms so that even at night, Paris’s best assets are highlighted. And speaking of highlighting, a little bit with your makeup is one of the best ways to illuminate your own favorite features. The new Lancôme Click & Glow Liquid Highlighter is an easy to use fluid strobing pen created to reflect your best features. Inspired by the beautiful lights of Paris itself, shades like Lumières D'Or in a warm gold and Lumières De Bronze, a rich amber bronze, bring a soft shimmer to the face to make you look simply radiant. Here are a few of my favorite ways to use this new liquid highlighter pen…

• Highlight your cupids bow, to accentuate your pout by drawing attention to your lips.
• Highlight the brow bone, just below and above to emphasise your arch.
• Accentuate your cheek bones to take them to extraordinary heights.
• Dab a bit on the inner corner of the eyes to brighten your look.
• Illuminate the bridge of the nose to dramatise the angles of your face.

With four shades of these beautiful and easy to use new Click & Glow Highlighters you’ll be as luminous as Paris, La Ville des Lumières!

<![CDATA[Parisian Holiday: A Collection As Enchanted As Paris Itself]]>

The onset of winter isn’t always easy on us. I know I’m not the only one who struggles with the abrupt time change and shorter days this time of year. Suddenly things seems to slow with the the arrival of the chill and darkness. At 4:30PM daylight disappears and we find ourselves inside asking “How has the year gone by so fast?”. November in Paris always seems this way. Until…

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One enchanted winter evening, something magical happens. Mid way through the month those short days turn into nights where Paris shines brighter than any other time of year. The city is covered in a golden glow, twinkling with holiday decorations as they go up in each quartier. It seems we can’t wait for the sun to go down and see the city sparkle each night. The Grand Roue goes up at Place de La Concorde marking the official start of the holidays in France. Everyone from the Grand Magasins (department stores) to the charming little shop keepers decorate their window displays with great pride, even more whimsically with each year that passes. Paris is dripping in gold, glowing bright through the night with Christmas lights. As my little tradition, I pick one evening to bundle up and head to the top of the Eiffel Tower and take it all in from the highest point in the city.

From up here one can see that nothing sparkles quite like a Parisian holiday. It is a thing to marvel at, and this year I see more than ever how Lancôme has captured this magic Paris moment in their holiday collection. Hypnose Dazzling in Givre Doré reminds me of the beautiful gold boxes stacking up in my favorite stores when the gifting begins. The Hypnose Stardust Golden Top Coat must be one of my favorites, giving a twinkle to the tips of your eyelashes like the lights draped across the avenues and wrapped around the street lamps. Another one of my favorites is Le Poudre de Lumière that illuminates your complexion with a dewy brilliance just like the glow enveloping the city.

The entire collection is a play between the rich dark shades and dazzling golden lights of a Parisian night this time of year. Can you imagine a more captivating ode to a Parisian Holiday? I can’t, which is why you must experience Parisian Holiday for yourself or give this beautiful gift to someone special this season…

<![CDATA[Paris in Bloom — Miracle Blossom]]>

It is true that in Paris, April showers bring us flowers! Right now on the days when the sun shines bright, all the little birds in the trees are singing I love Paris in the spring time! The city is in full bloom, bursting with color.

Paris Rendezvous

In the Jardin des Plantes there are bushes upon bushes of peonies blooming bigger than my face, in shades of pink ranging from bubblegum to magenta. Bright yellow mimosas and rose bushes are growing along the high line also known as La Coulée Verte. Wisteria hysteria is taking over the streets as these purple bundles of flowers drip from fences shading us from the sun that is spoiling us as of late. Tulips are perfectly lined up in rows bordering the hedges in our perfectly manicured parks.

But it’s always the cherry blossoms that seem to steal the show. Snap-happy Parisiens and tourists are blown away by these pink clouds atop the trees, in full bloom above their heads. We’re seeing la vie en rose in their pink shadows, the sun gently trickling through their petals. They never last long enough, surely why we appreciate them so much, and as their petals begin to fall the ground turns pink, a magnificent carpet!

With Paris in full bloom right now, what better time than now to launch Miracle Blossom on the Lancôme site. This parfume from Lancôme, once only sold in Asia, is now exclusively available on Lancôme-usa.com! A perfect spring scent, it bottles all the beautiful floral aromas gracing Paris and the northern hemisphere this season, like the peonies of the Jardin des Plantes and the roses of the Coulée Verte, in a shade of beautiful pink reminiscent of our cherry blossom trees decorating Paris these last weeks. With a fruity twist and a hint of sandalwood and musk, it’s spring in a bottle!

<![CDATA[FRENCH INNOCENCE: Parisian Spring Captured in the Perfect Collection]]>

For me, the heart of Paris Rendez-Vous is visiting Paris every week with you to discover Lancôme’s many inspirations in the city we call home.

Sometimes it’s the way a Parisian woman might go about her day in the city, and the role beauty plays throughout it from her makeup to her skincare. Other times it’s the colors, the light, the seasons and more making Paris a visual delight that inspires the creativity behind each collection. The moment I saw the French Innocence spring collection, I knew this was one of those…

Each year as winter draws to an end and spring slowly blooms, the city undergoes a magical phenomenon. Suddenly to all of us, Paris feels entirely new again as we return to outdoor spaces that laid dormant all winter long. The leaves and flowers are fresh, the air pure, and the city bathed in a gentle light. It is a time of innocence as Parisians rediscover the city as if seeing it for the very first time…

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Suddenly, beneath the sunshine, the colors brighten. The greens of the iconic lounge chairs in the parks and gardens that inspired the Vernis in Love in Vert Tuileries, are filled with loungers once again. The taupe stone buildings like those lining the Rue de Rivoli, radiate warmth from the sun onto passers by, inspiring the warm beige of Vernis in Love in Gris Rivoli. My new Color Design lipstick in Pink Drink recalls the color of the rosé wine we sip on the terraces of our favorite cafés as they begin to fill up again. For our eyes wide open and bright again as the days grow longer, we find the spirit of spring in Paris is the colors of My French Palette. Each shade fades from pinks to blues for day and night, like the changing colors of spring sunsets along the Seine river.

It is my absolute favorite time of year, and each year as February drags on, the sun eventually comes back out to tease us saying “It’s not long until Spring is here.” There is no better way to capture my excitement than with Lancôme’s French Innocence collection, as I wait patiently just a little longer for it. I truly fell in love with this collection just like I do again with Paris each spring. I think you will love it too…

<![CDATA[Les Soins — Your Favorite Beauty Treatments Brought Home]]>

After a long fashion week of work and fun with friends, I’m due for a little relaxation and recuperation. My skin is practically begging for it! For women in France, no matter how busy they get, a little time for “self care” is something they will always manage to find. With a huge focus on skincare and a penchant for clinical spa treatments over needles and knives, French women will often pop in every couple weeks for a state of the art facial or whatever other soins are on the menu.

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But you don’t always have to leave home to get the same results. Spa treatments can be expensive and time consuming. With some of my favorite Lancôme products you can get similar results anytime you want from the comfort of your home and on your own time, without ever having to make an appointment. With the right routine you can also economise and get the results you love more often and more times over for about the same price as one treatment at the aesthetician. So I suggest cozying up at home, taking some deep breaths, lighting a candle or two, and trying a few of my favorite alternatives you’ll find below. Your mind, body, and soul with thank you!

ABSOLUE L'EXTRAIT ULTIMATE EYE CONTOUR — Contouring facials in salon often use microcurrent devices and massaging techniques to firm problem areas of skin. With Absolue L’Extrait Ultimate Eye Contour Collection, you can get similar results for your eyes six times over with this luxurious little kit. Apply the ultra hydrating balm-to-elixir to the eye area and massage it into the skin with the accompanying roller to stimulate collagen and blood flow. Then the innovative eye patches, made from an exclusive bio-cellulose, help seal in all the benefits of the Absolue leaving you with visible results including lift and reducing under eye puffiness.

ÉNERGIE DE VIE SCRUB MASK — Microdermabrasion and detox facials are two of the most popular treatments at the esthetician. But if you want similar results in less time and more affordably, the Énergie de Vie Scrub Mask is a two-in-one mask, meant to refine, moisturize, and exfoliate your complexion. Begin by applying it to your face for five minutes to let penetrate and purify your skin. When you go to wash it off, enjoy its exfoliating pearls to reduce fine lines and brighten skin. Your complexion will be radiant and completely re-energized!

GÉNIFIQUE YOUTH ACTIVATING SECOND SKIN MASK — Anti-aging facials are one of the biggest demands from women once we pass thirty. But ever since one of my my favorite Lancôme products, Génifique, was embodied in a Youth Activating Second Skin Mask I think a lot of us can skip the facial and get the same results right at home. This ultra efficient serum face mask delivers an extra generous dose of Génifique’s moisturizing and plumping properties. I like to pop the mask in the fridge before for an extra cooling effect, put it on and relax to some music or meditation.


In last week’s Paris Rendez-Vous, I gave some insights into the closets of Paris’s stylish female inhabitants. Their simple and classic mode of dress mingles perfectly with the city and never distracts from a woman’s best asset, her natural beauty. Just like her wardrobe, when it comes to her beauty essentials, less is more. She always appears put together, yet is surprisingly low maintenance when it comes to makeup. She can easily fit her go to items into her small makeup bag at a moments notice for a weekend away. If we took a peak inside, what might we find? Here are some of the Parisian beauty essentials…

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Her Signature Scent — The Parisienne knows that both style and beauty are something that meet more than the eye…the nose to be precise! Her signature scent is carefully selected and always generously applied.
Her Go to Red Polish — Chic down to her finger tips, some red vernis is an easy way for her to always look put together.
A Classic Black Liquid Liner — The simple cat eye (think a thin, delicate line) is one of the Parisians favorite looks. She is so skilled from years of practice that she can practically create the perfect line right or left handed.
Her Trusted Skincare Routine— On thing we won’t always find in the Parisienne’s makeup bag is foundation. Women here love to go foundation free. That means their skincare routine is even more important, as they need a nearly flawless canvas. For a youthful complexion, Advanced Génifique is her secret weapon. When she needs a bit of evening out, Nude Miracle is the perfection foundation that only she’ll know is there.
The Perfect Red Lipstick— When it comes to lips and nails for the Parisienne, red is a neutral. It goes with anything and everything and is as bold as it is classic, just like her…

<![CDATA[Spring & Summer Nail Art: Fruity Accent Nails Inspired by Juicy Shakers]]>

I love a little accent nail. It’s a fun and easy way to switch up your manicure without having to start from scratch to match your outfit or makeup. If you opt for a nice neutral manicure for the week, you can choose just one or two nails on each side to coordinate with your changing looks. This is called the accent nail, and it’s the perfect way for anyone who is short on time or a bit reluctant to go full on with more complicated designs to try out some nail art.

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I know many women like to coordinate their makeup with their manicure. Lately I’ve been matching my nails to my lips and created some fruity designs inspired by my favorite colors and flavors of the new Juicy Shaker, Lancôme’s addictive new Pigment Infused Bi-Phased Lip Oil.

Nail art can be a bit tricky, which is why it can come at a high price (an additional $5 to $15 dollars per nail in salon). But getting these cute designs at home in 15 minutes or less is affordable and fool proof, tried and tested by your’s truly!

Here’s a few tips to paint more precisely when you try these designs…

• Remove or let most of the excess polish run off the brush before painting.

• Let each step dry thoroughly before proceeding to the next.

• Protect each one by finishing with a shiny top coat.

Juicy Shaker Accent Nails

Cherry Symphony — Recommended Colors: Very in Love, Rouge in Love, Vert Tuileries.

Start with the main color of your manicure as the background color. Using a cherry red polish, paint two red circles in the center of the nail and let dry. Add a second coat here if necessary to get a bold color. Using a lighter red, add a thin line to the outer edge of each cherry to create definition. Using a shade green, paint a stem from the top of each cherry, and bring them together in the center with two tiny leaves.

Wonder Melon — Recommended Colors: Rouge in Love, Vert Tuileries, Noir Caviar.

Begin with a base coat to protect the nail. Place two coats of an orangey red over the entirety of the nail and let fully dry. Paint over one side of the nail with a shade of green to create the watermelon rhine, applying a second coat here if necessary. With a black polish (or any very dark shade) use the corner of the nail brush to create the tiny watermelon seeds with a very light touch.

Berry in Love —Recommended Colors: Rose Bagatelle or Midnight Rose, Vert Tuileries, Noir Caviar.

Begin with a base coat to protect the nail. Paint two coats of a shade of light purple or deep pink polish onto the nail, leaving some negative space near the base of the nail. Use any dark shade of polish to add small seeds to the design. Paint several sprigs of green at the top to create the berry stem.

<![CDATA[A Perfect Pair — Visionnaire Crescendo x Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Ultra Moisturizer]]>

Somewhere around thirty a lot of us start feeling like regular exfoliation just isn’t enough. In fact there is such thing as over exfoliating. I learned that the hard way when I started trying to scrub my way back to smooth dewy skin again a couple years ago. It was rough, literally and figuratively. Puzzled, I shared my woes with an esthetician who said that scary word…p-e-e-l. Yikes! Memories of my childhood friend’s mom picking us up from school with a raw and red face instantly came to mind. So drastic! But my idea of peels was outdated, and I was introduced to much better options, like Lactic Acid, Retinol, Salicylic Acid, and my favorite, AHA.

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Around that same time Lancôme released Crescendo, a 28 night dual-phase peel, that I gave a shot and have since cycled in and out of my skin care routine as needed. Using gentle yet effective natural exfoliants like AHA fruit extracts in phase one, and then upping the intensity with Salicylic Acid in phase two, Crescendo works gently and gradually to increase cell turn over and reveal more youthful, brighter, dewy skin beneath. Minus any embarrassing moments, guaranteed by your’s truly!

In fact, it’s hard to find anything not to like about Crescendo. A peel like Crescendo is ideal for using at the change of seasons, to help your skin adjust and give it a fresh start. A spring clean, perhaps, with this 28 night peel? I’m in. But with spring and summer soon swinging back round the calendar I also hope we’ll all be spending more time outdoors. Which brings me to the only drawback of peels like Crescendo: increased sensitivity to sun.

But fear not! Lancôme has the perfect daytime partner for this night time peel, Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Ultra Moisturizer. Complete with SPF 30, it’s the perfect pairing to protect your radiant new skin as you reveal it to the world with broad spectrum protection from the sun’s rays. And, an added advantage of a peel like Crescendo is that as the dull and dead cells on the surface of your skin are slowly peeled away, it allows for it to better absorb the benefits of moisturizers and serums. That means that the benefits like dark spot correction, lifting, and fine line reduction that Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Ultra delivers can be amplified even more.

I would say Visionnaire Crescendo and Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Ultra Moisturizer are the perfect pairing, and Lancôme agrees. A match made in skincare heaven! Apply Crescendo before bed and Rénergie in the morning before heading out and you’ll be well on your way to beautiful skin. Between the two we’ve got you covered around the clock…and who knows, we might even manage to turn it back just a little bit!

<![CDATA[From Lancôme With Love: A Playful Spring Makeup Collection]]>

Nothing speaks to my style quite like spring, and I was nearly speechless last week when I received the new Lancôme spring collection, From Lancôme With Love! I didn’t conceal my excitement either. “This has to be one of my favorite collections yet!” I told my friends at Lancôme.

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And honestly for me that is exactly what this collection is all about — bringing back spring cheer with fun colors and playful products. Isn’t it funny how something small like makeup can brighten our day, bring joy, and truly inspire? The collection is just the coup de pouce (little push) I needed to get me through the end of winter and into a brighter season!

It’s truly a pastel fantasy, and honestly inspired a little fantasy of my own — a spring moment on the rooftops of Paris, wearing my new favorite dress that perfectly matches the Bleu Ciel Parisien color that to me is a real star throughout the collection. I knew to share it here, I wanted to photograph it just like the gorgeous campaign, balloons and all, starring Lancôme ambassador, Alma Jordowsky, balloons and all.

The collection must have brought me some luck with it because my fantasies collided one beautiful morning last week when all at once the sun came out the day the Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal invited me to discover their perfect Parisian view! I had passed this chic five-star hotel so many times, and since it was chosen as Europe’s Best Boutique Hotel last year, I wondered what it would be like to stay there. I felt like I had the keys to the city when they lent me their luminous top floor suite with panoramic views from it’s beautiful terrace overlooking the Louvre and Palais Royal. It was just like the adorable illustrations on the packaging of the collection, floating over the rooftops of the French capital with my head in the clouds. And of course, a perfect moment to capture and share my look du jour with the From Lancôme With Love collection.

May favorite things about the collection...

• It can be both fashion forward and subtle. Le Stylo Waterproof in Bleu Ciel Parisien and the Vernis in Love nail polish in a gorgeous yellow called Jaune Grand Blvds are a great way to make a statement with color, while the eyeshadow palettes are sweet and subtle to go with a soft pink lip.

My Parisian Pastels really infuse some fun into makeup. I love to be playful with these shimmer cubes, combining them for highlighters or blush or using individual shades as eyeshadows. If I could have just one thing from the collection this might be it — innovative, versatile, and downright adorable!

My Parisian Cream Blush! I fell in love with the cream blushes from Lancôme’s summer collection last year, and was so excited to see these new ones for spring. They are lightweight but give an amazing pop of color.

<![CDATA[Double Take: The Suarez Sisters Take Paris to Try Grandiôse Extrême + Liner]]>

Do you know the Suarez sisters? These girls are all over the internet as prominent fashion bloggers. Dylana also works as a photographer and Natalie as a model, so the two often collaborate for work, with their adventures even bringing them to the French capital from time to time. That’s how I met them at Paris Fashion Week last year. Since then, I jump at every opportunity to show them around Paris when they’re in town because they are honestly a bundle of fun.

Paris Rendezvous

In fact fun is what I have always loved about their two personalities on and offline, and when I invited them to my place last week to get ready for a Friday night out in the City of Light, we had some fun playing with Lancôme’s new Grandiôse Liner and Grandiose Extrême Mascara.

It turns out Natalie has already gotten hooked on the Grandiôse Liner since she got her hands on one a few weeks ago. She wears liquid liner almost every day, and the ultra fine tip is both supple and resistant so she can get the perfect super fine wing she likes to wear on and off duty. When Dylana tried it, I told her to try bending the wand. “Wait, really?! I feel like I’m gonna break it!” she said before I clicked it back and forth to show her the full extent of its ergonomic design, making it easier to manipulate around the shape of the eye for hard to reach places without ever slipping up.

The ultra black matte liner pairs perfectly with the new Grandiôse Extrême Mascara. It’s equally black fiber lash formula makes lashes even longer, thicker, and darker than the original Grandiôse for when you want an extra pop or for short lashes that need an extra push. All with the ergonomic design of the Grandiôse wand of course, so application is easier, cleaner, and more effective, boosting lashes by grabbing them good from root to tip.

“I love how thick this mascara is. It’s dramatic...you can really see it”, said Natalie later that night, as she reached to touch up her makeup post dinner along the Canal Saint Martin. The two posed for a few pics for me here to show off their Grandiôse Liner + Extrême Mascara looks. As you can see, the pairing is a winning combination (just like the Suarez sisters themselves!) to make eyes really pop, looking bigger and brighter.

I asked the two fashion bloggers if this Fall they would dare to try the new “graphic eyes” trend, like the double or even triple flick cat-eye and they said “Definitely. What a fun way to get more creative with this new liner we love!”

One other thing is for sure, after our few days together here last week, Natalie and Dylana love Paris too! Until their next trip, whenever their missing Paris you can find them at their favorite French spots at home in New York City that I asked them to share here...

The Suarez Sister’s Favorite French Spots in NYC

• Café Collette, 79 Berry St. in Williamsburg
• Balthazar, 80 Spring St. in SoHo
• Ladurée, 398 W Broadway in SoHo
• L’Imprimerie, 1524 Myrtle Ave in Bushwick
• Café Gitane, The Jane Hotel, 113 Jane St. in the Meatpacking District
• Le Barricou, 533 Grand St. in Williamsburg

<![CDATA[Miracle Secret — Scents & Secrets of Happiness]]>

Last week I took a little trip. I didn’t tell anyone where I was going, or how long I would be gone. I didn’t even tell them I would be leaving town. I know they say it’s not good to keep secrets, but sometimes a little secret can be invigorating. Secrets like this one that do no harm, and when kept just for yourself, somehow make you feel closer to who you are.

Paris Rendezvous

Lately there had been a little cloud hanging around my head. As the saying goes, wherever you go, there you are. So my intention was not to escape myself, but more so to get closer to the things I know make me happy — nature, flowers, big skies, and fresh air.

When summer rolls around I’m reminded more than ever that I need to be enjoying life to the fullest. But too often I find myself waiting for someone else to make that happen. For a friend to free up, a guy to take me out, and so on. But as I’ve gotten older I realize that no one is responsible for my happiness but myself. So for me this little spur of the moment trip was significant in that sense.

I took a train south, and from there rented a car and drove through the countryside, just to see what I might find. Just as I hoped, there were rolling hills covered in red poppies, and the lavender beginning to bloom in the fields as far the eye could see. And along each road, little wild flowers in every color of the rainbow lining the way, reminding me that no matter what, life finds a way. One only need to look at nature, at these beautiful blooms and the little creatures living amongst them, to be reminded that there are tiny miracles all around us if we take the time to look.

I think those are my secrets to happiness: to seize the day for myself and no one else, and to open my eyes to all the miraculous things around me. But there is one more little secret from my trip. The other is Miracle Secret, my new Lancôme scent I brought along which I knew would perfectly commemorate the spirit of my getaway. Each journey has a story, and so does each fragrance. My two are perfectly aligned in Miracle Secret, a citrusy floral scent with a heart of jasmine available exclusively here on Lancôme.com. Each time I wear it will remind me to get out and find the flowers, and bring me closer to them and happiness each time with just one spritz…

<![CDATA[Go For Gold: Absolue Precious Oil]]>

One of the things I love about Paris is how it withholds its beauty from no one. Its best assets aren’t hidden behind closed doors reserved for the elite, they are on display in the streets for everyone to see. Parisians often complain that living in Paris means apartments are small, which is true. And while this may inevitably mean that for most of us our home lives are simple in humble abodes, there is no shortage of ornate glamour and opulence to more than make up for it once you step outside.

Every where you look the city is detailed in gold: the dome of Les Invalides, the details of the Pont Alexandre III, the gates of the Petit Palais, the fences of the Palais Royal, and the statue atop Bastille just to name a few. Paris is woven from east to west with gilded accents for the city’s dwellers to marvel at. Belonging to no one and everyone all at once, it is one of Paris’s luxuries that brightens daily life here. That is one thing Paris has certainly taught me over the years, a little bit of luxury in life now and then can go a long way. It’s also something us women deserve.

For me, that’s just what Absolue Precious Oil is all about. There is always room for a little luxury in our beauty routine as well, and this spring and summer this golden elixir is it. Whether it’s something you choose to apply everyday, or once a week for an extra special treat for your skin, applying Absolue Precious Oil is an intensely luxurious moment. The oil delivers moisture revitalising ingredients to your skin for a satiny finish with the delicate scent of the Absolue signature fragrance: Majestic Rose Heart.

Paris Rendezvous

The result? Your skin’s beautiful golden glow is revealed giving you a dewey and luminous face to show off in the sunshine. With Absolue Precious Oil, you’ll be as radiant as ever just like the little rays of gold shining throughout Paris.

<![CDATA[Sleeping Beauty, Ageless Beauty]]>

There is a beauty in aging. As we grow a bit older we should treasure the added wisdom that life experience continually brings. After all, we've had more time to get to know ourselves, and feel more confident of who we are.

If you're like me, you might enjoy discovering that your face has slimmed down a bit to reveal a more sophisticated and womanly look more fitting of how you feel. I've found even a wrinkle or two can be of service walking into a boardroom or interview, reassuring people that you've spent some years getting the experience to call yourself a professional. Of course aging also requires a bit more finesse and the knowledge to embrace it as you please. French women seem to be masters of this, and I am lucky some of them have bestowed their knowledge and guidance upon me. Paired with the insights of my own mother and all the right products from Lancôme, I feel more than ready for the years ahead. I take it one day at a time, beginning before I've even gone to sleep.Paris Rendez-vous

Before bed, I take a moment to treat my skin so I can sleep soundly knowing I've done my best caring for it. It's a therapeutic ritual I take pride in, preparing my body and mind to make the most of beauty sleep each night when skin rests and repairs itself. After a thorough cleansing comes treating, and after that, a healthy dose of rest. From bedtime to rise-and-shine, here are my daily tips to achieve ageless beauty with radiant, smooth and healthy skin.


•  TREAT YOURSELF — Before bed, use Lancôme's Génifique Night Repair. Each morning, apply Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Serum all over your face for radiant and smooth skin, followed by Génifique Eye-Light Pearl to illuminate your eyes.
•  SLEEP WELL — Sleep at least seven hours (ideally eight), allowing your skin, your body and your mind to de-stress and repair.
•  SLEEP RIGHT — Whenever possible, sleep flat on your back to avoid scrunching your face into a pillow. Years of doing so can cause unwanted wrinkles. Sleeping on your back also allows gravity to work its magic, encouraging skin to stay taught.


•  PROTECT — Wear moisturizer or foundation with SPF, especially in spring and summer.
•  YOUR NECK — With anti-aging we focus mostly on our face, but don't forget about your neck and chest. Moisturize, protect and treat your décolletage as this skin is just as important.
•  WEAR SUNGLASSES — When the sun is out and you're without your shades, you'll inevitably squint. Years of that will contribute to crow's feet and other unwanted wrinkles, so be wise and wear sunglasses.

<![CDATA[“Your New Sexiest Color Red”]]>

Whether it's lipstick, an accessory or a whole ensemble, red exudes confidence and style. I shared with you earlier this week the cayenne shade of red I’ve been reaching for lately to warm up my wardrobe and beauty look. If you’re ready to do the same, here's an article I've handpicked for more ideas on wearing the vibrant power color this Valentine’s Day, and all season long...

Your New Sexiest Color Red!
Red lipstick should be every woman’s sultry secret weapon. These tricks customize red makeup for your skin tone—you’ll love how it looks on you.
By Tram Kim Nguyen

Everyday red
Even the least shy makeup color on the planet can be worn subtly. Apply a deep red. Blot until you’re left with a pretty berry stain. For cheeks, “run a fluffy brush over red-wine powder blush, swipe it across a tissue, then dust on,” says NYC makeup artist Ana Marie. Your finishing touches: black liquid liner and black mascara.

Your New Sexiest Red

Make your red last
On lips: A weird-but-good trick: “Once you’re happy with your lipstick, take an ice cube and run it along your lips,” says Ana Marie. “As cold and watery as it is, I swear it works—the color will never bleed.”
On cheeks: If blush tends to slide off (often the case with oilier skin), try a cheek stain; dab it on with a sponge.
On nails: Be sure they’re clean or your red won’t stick. Singleton does this on every client: (1) Remove old polish; (2) wash hands with soap and water; (3) swipe nails with a pad soaked in astringent. Then do your two coats. For extra chip protection, “swipe the polish brush horizontally across the top edge of your nail,” she advises.

4 ways to wear it
1. Scarlet fingernails and a black suit
2. Classic red lipstick and jeans
3. Rosy cheeks and very black lashes
4. Deep red toenails in peekaboo pumps

Your most flattering shade
Fair skin: A pink-y red looks best.
Medium skin: If you have medium coloring, reach for a true scarlet red.
Olive skin: Choose a deep wine red.
Dark skin: Pick orangey or brownish reds to play up skin.

Kiss-ready red
The how-tos: (1) Go sheer but shiny; try Lancôme Color Fever Lip Gloss in Mercury Rising. (2) Wear said color around cute guy. (3) You don’t need us to tell you what to do next!

City-chic red
“This season you’ll look put together—not cheesy—if you match your lipstick and nail polish,” says Ana Marie. To get lips lush, line yours with red pencil, then apply matching lipstick straight from the tube—it’s the only way to get such intensity. Keep nails short and round.

Reprinted with permission from Condé Nast archive: “Your New Sexiest Color Red.”

<![CDATA[Pretty Kitty: Last Minute Makeup for a Chic Halloween!]]>

When it comes to Halloween costumes, I’m almost always scrambling to throw something together last minute. If like me you’ve been busy with work and the festivities have crept up on you to find you unprepared, here’s a last minute makeup idea to get you all dolled up. Whether you’re off to a party or sticking around to greet trick-or-treaters, with just two of my favorite Lancôme products and a bit of artistry you can be a chic little kitty just in time for Halloween. Here’s how…

Paris Rendezvous

Step 1: Cat Eyes — Now is the time to get dramatic with your Artliner! The secret to serious cat eyes is to also line the lower eyes and the inside corners to point downward. At the other end, where you usually draw on sleek little wings, triple the size for a more exaggerated look. I added a bit of extra definition to mine with a few shades from my Auda[city] palette too, and few swipes of mascara.

Step 2: The Nose — Using Artliner again, draw on a cute little cat nose. Outline it first in the shape of a heart at the tip of your nose, then color it in all the way underneath down the bridge of your nostrils.

Step 3: Kitty Whiskers — Three or four on each side will do. They’re as easy as a flick of the wrist outward from the nose with Artliner again, then add a few dots just below.

Step 4: Lips — The trick to getting the perfect pout for this look is to make your lips appear more narrow. You might want to add a bit of your regular foundation to the outer corner to disguise them. Then, take a shade your favorite shade of red or pink L’Absolu Rouge and with a lip brush, shape a heart following the points of your upper lip.

I threw on my favorite black lace cat ears from the Parisian hat company, Maison Michel, that I bought at their atelier on Rue Cambon. They’re a fun little accessory I keep around all year just for this reason. But even if you don’t have some cute cat ears at hand, no fear! Tousle your hair a bit and throw it up into two messy little top knots a top your head to mimic cat ears. Finish off your costume with your favorite chunky necklace just like a collar, et voilà! You’ll be the chicest little kitty to cross people’s path on Halloween night.

<![CDATA[Énergie de Vie — Reveal Your Radiance for Summer with Two New Additions]]>

I always feel like this time of year I’m my best self, in more ways than one. The beautiful weather inspires me to get outside and make the most of the long days. Looking back each time, I wonder how just weeks ago I was so ready to hide away inside. But now, summer days are here and I feel re-energized, always motivated to see friends, to exercise, to do everything on my list each day and then some. That’s why I love summer, and my skin does too.

Paris Rendezvous

When the air is si doux (so soft) as we say in French, my complexion is at its best too, feeling and looking more balanced, more radiant, sun kissed by warm days and invigorated by the fulfillment of each day that leads to nights of solid rest. I’ve shed the layers in my wardrobe lingering from colder months, and for my face I’ll do the same. Warm weather means less makeup and skincare becomes both a priority and a little pleasure in my routine. A fresh face is the best summer beauty look, and exfoliating to reveal a radiant glow is just the way to get it.

That’s why I couldn’t be more excited that with the arrival of the season also comes some new additions to the Énergie de Vie collection. Focusing on a simple routine akin to a natural skincare line, Énergie de Vie reawakens dull and tired skin by purifying, moisturizing, and now exfoliating as well. The new Énergie de Vie Exfoliating Mask is a two-in-one mask made to eliminate dead skin cells, resulting in a more even skin tone and a renewed, dewy texture for a luminous finish.

I love to use it when I have a slow morning to sit outside on the terrace and take in some fresh air. Cool to the touch it immediately feels relaxing on the skin. It only takes three minutes but I like to leave it a bit longer, letting its antioxidants reach deeper to soothe my skin. Then, with its exfoliating beads, I finish with it at the sink just like a scrub. After just one use I could instantly see and feel how renewed and soft my skin was. Even my friends noticed.

For a nice finishing touch, Énergie de Vie Cooling Eye Gel is a tiny wonder to give you a rested look, calm puffiness, and smooth over fine lines immediately cooling and hydrating skin with its roll on applicator. This tiny new beauty secret is perfect to keep with you on long days when you feel you’re looking fatigued. Just reach for it in your purse and roll it on for a little pick-me-up.

Et voilà, two exciting new additions to Énergie de Vie this summer to think about as we focus on skincare, shed the layers, and put our best faces forward to look and feel radiant and energized as we live life to the fullest all summer long…

<![CDATA[Nail Art: An Adorable DIY Manicure that Gives New Life to Old Makeup]]>

Achieving awesome nail art out of the salon isn’t usually as easy as it looks. But recently I’ve been testing out a few looks from my friend Souchka’s new book, Nail Art. Souchka is a local manicurest in Paris, and one of the first beauty experts in the French capital to spread some avant-garde nail fashion. When I’m out and about in the city and spot someone with a unique design, I always ask where she got her nails done. Often they say Souchka, and so it was only a matter of time before someone asked her to do a book! And so she has, complete with twentyfour easy to master tutorials.

Paris Rendezvous

Since Souchka’s book is only available in French at the moment, I decided to translate and share one of my favorite looks from it with you here. It’s the perfect way to make use of an old eyeshadow you’ve had lying around but couldn’t bare to throw out. Souchka calls this her Fard à Paupière look, which is how you say eyeshadow in French. Give it a try!


A base coat, one shade of Lancôme’s Vernis in Love, Lancôme’s Gel-Like Top Coat, one eyeshadow, a nail file or orange stick, and a small brush.

STEP 1: Before painting your nails, select an old eye shadow that will contrast your polish well. If it’s compressed, use the edge of a nail file to crush it into a lose powder, and set this aside. I selected a bright blue I never use that I thought would contrast the nail color well.

STEP 2: Apply a base coat to protect your nails and ensure your nail polish will adhere well and help your nail art last longer.

STEP 3: Apply two coats of your preferred color of polish. I used Lancôme’s Madame Tulipe from the Fall Color Collection. Let it dry well before proceeding to step four.

STEP 4: Once your polish is dry, proceed with the following steps one nail at a time. Apply Lancôme’s Gel-Like Top Coat. Quickly before it dries, place a small amount of the crushed eyeshadow onto the tip of your nail file and sprinkle it generously over the nail. Leave the shadow in place as you proceed with the rest of the nails.

STEP 5: After waiting about ten minutes to let your top coat dry and the powder adhere to it, take the small brush and gently dust off the excess shadow. Remove any remaining eyeshadow from your cuticles and skin with a moist towel, and now you’re ready to show off your new manicure!

<![CDATA[Summer & SPF — Your Definitive Guide to Sunscreen]]>

Did you know the sun sets at almost 11PM in Paris in mid summer? The days are long! I’ve been enjoying them and the sunshine with the Parisians at our many beautiful parks, but not just. I’ve also been finding myself on outdoor shoots for work a lot lately which has got the sun on my skin and sunscreen on my mind.

Paris Rendezvous

While on set last week, I got to talking about sunscreen with the makeup artist and just what we should be using and how much. Every one joined in and it occurred to me that not many of us actually understand how SPF works. So I decided to get to the bottom of it so we can educate ourselves on how to play safe in the sun this time of year.

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is a measure of a sunscreen's ability to prevent rays from damaging the skin. UVA rays are associated with aging, while UVB rays are more responsible for skin cancers. Different sunscreens perform differently when it comes to filtering out each, but the most important factor is the SPF level.

Here’s a few general rules you should keep in mind when choosing your sunscreen…

• The higher the sun the stronger the rays. So an SPF that might be fine in morning or early evening, won’t necessarily suffice for noon and the several hours following.

• The further you are from the equator, the less strong the sun will be. So sailing in Sweden in won’t require the same SPF as catching waves in California.

• Different skin types are more sensitive to the sun. The fairer you are, the higher SPF you should be using. But that doesn’t mean that because your dark the sun can do no harm. All skin types can benefit from SPF.

So just how long can you stay in the sun with your sunscreen? A common myth is that the SPF number corresponds to the number of minutes you can stay in the sun. So SPF 30 equals 30 minutes of sun protection. This is false. The SPF level actually corresponds to how many times longer than normal you can stay in the sun without getting burned. So if you can normally stay 5 minutes in the sun without burning, an SPF 15 will allow you one hour and fifteen minutes in the sun without burning (5 x 15 = 75 minutes). Meaning you’ll need to know your skin type and do a little math.

That being said, I don’t think anyone ever regretted using too much sunscreen. But I, for one, sure have regretted a few sunburns in my time! Lancôme has your skin covered this summer with a few of my favorite products, like…

Skin Feels Good SPF 23 — This is my go to summer skin option so far. SPF 23 means I can enjoy the sun without burning and still catch a few freckles. It’s light weight and hydrating, so for beach days I’ve been applying in the morning and reapplying after swims. You can’t travel without this essential this summer!

Teint Idole Ultra Cushion Foundation SPF 50 — For long sunny days where you want full coverage, this will have most skin types completely protected while also offering gorgeous even full coverage that never feels heavy. It’s one of my personal favorites!

Bienfait UV SPF 50+ — For serious sun protection with or without makeup, this is a must have. It’s broad spectrum, oil free, and lightweight offering a ton of protection without feeling greasy, and you can use it on your body too if you need!

And remember, you don’t have to tan to get that summer glow! For a little cheat try the Lancôme Bronze & Glow Palette!

<![CDATA[Out with Bang! — Be Bold This New Year’s Eve]]>

2017 was one of the busiest years of my life, in a good way I’m happy to say. As many of us do around my age I buckled down, and gave my all to my career, with some trial and error and some success too. You know how it goes…when you’re busy time flies and if you’ve had a year anything like mine, you too can’t believe that it’s already coming to an end. But part of time passing quickly is getting older too. As a young girl a year used to be paramount, now at nearly thirty it’s starting to feel like just the blink of an eye.

Paris Rendezvous

And while this year was flying by, so did some occasions to stop and celebrate that I didn’t seize as much as one ought to in life. The birthday parties I missed, the galas I couldn’t RSVP too, and the little soirées I would have like to have thrown myself to share with others — I just didn’t always have it in me to find the time to make them happen, and furthermore to get myself together to dress up and go out.

But now here at the end of December, I peer over my shoulder at the year behind us. They say never look back, but I can’t help it. I think it’s important to do so — to be grateful, first and foremost, but also to see how we want to do things differently moving forward. With a bit of sentimentality if you’ll allow me. The only regrets I have from this year are not the mistakes I made, not the faux pas I have surely taken here and there, but rather the steps I didn’t take. As the proverbial saying goes, it’s not the things that you did in life that you will regret, but the ones you didn’t do. They’re always right, aren’t they? Well, something like that I suppose.

So I will say it is far from the end for me, perhaps just the end of this year, but I regret the nights I missed. I regret the parties I didn’t find the energy to put on my dancing shoes and the strangers I never met on the dance floor. I regret the celebrations of friends and family I didn’t dress up for, sending a card in my place. I regret the times I didn’t take a tough day and shake it off to get dolled up, and feel fabulous to meet up with friends.

Which leads me to my 2018 resolution, to seize those moments. Years go fast and occasions to look and live glamorously and celebrate this thing called life with others will pass us by too often if we let them. So I won’t. Not anymore. I’m going to seize every opportunity worth dressing up for. I want nights on the dance floor to fly by me on winged eyeliner. I want my lashes those nights to be as big as my daydreams. I want my champagne to be as sparkling as my eyeshadow, and nights worth celebrating to shine as bright as my lipstick, and they will…starting this New Years’s Eve!

So let’s go out with a bang! Pull out your most fabulous dress and wear your glamorous makeup tonight! Kiss this year goodbye and welcome the new one looking and feeling as bold as we hope to live in 2018! Happy New Year!

<![CDATA[Unique Style, Right Down to Your Fingertips]]>

Audrey is another American in Paris, one who has become more popularly known as Frassy. Her quirky pseudonym embodies the spontaneous overflow of fashion that is her philosophy on all things personal style. With such as an approach, she stands out in Paris. That, and the fact that we're both Americans in a foreign place, made it just a matter of time before our paths crossed. When they did, it was the beginning of a great friendship.

Before we met, Audrey had already been chronicling her sartorial adventures on her website for some time before fashion blogging had grown into the industry it is today. She was a regular feature popping up in your favorite magazines and even on the cover of the first book published on fashion blogging. Somehow, I managed to miss all the buzz. When we met at a charity event and exchanged cards, I discovered her fashion universe online and completely in…like Alice down the rabbit hole.

Le Brunch in Paris

With her, it was a world of colors, textures, prints and shapes like I had never seen before, and a closet that had overtaken her home to curate every wall with her personal style. An international girl, Audrey takes influence from all parts of her exciting young life. Her unabashed individualism is an American trait, while her love of color comes from adolescent and teen years spent growing up in a vibrant corner of Spain. After studying in England, a certain quirk and East London edge only added to her look. And now...Paris! Like me, Audrey moved to Paris to be creatively inspired. Just like it has inspired Lancôme and myself over the years, this city inspired Audrey to launch her own fashion label, Audrey Leighton.

Without a doubt, Audrey's home here for the last four years has had some style influence best evidenced by slightly more somber palettes, sophisticated tailoring, and of course a love of French labels. Yet her current style is more of an evolution than anything else, as her Frassy philosophy still shines through. And today, it's shining right down to her fingertips! Although it was a rainy day, as it often is in Paris this time of year, I noticed immediately that even with her practical Parisian outfit suited to the weather, she had a pop of violette coquette color on her hands and lips — a Lancôme gift from me several weeks prior. I wasn't surprised, as Audrey always extends her style to her manicure and makeup palette, coordinating her outfits, trying the latest trendy color, or even her favorite, polka dots! Once again, her style had me inspired, and I snapped some photos.

What makes Audrey a great friend runs deeper than that though. From her style to her friendship, she believes women should chase their dreams, and find their individuality. Her style is just one more way of telling that to the world.

<![CDATA[Sourcils Styler — Achieve Your 2017 #BrowGoals]]>

Confession: I did something a little bit crazy at the end of 2016 — I got my eyebrows tattooed! Never in my life did I think I would get my face tattooed, but I did. You might think “Now that is a crazy commitment!” but the process is actually called microblading and the results eventually fade, lasting only two years. I always preferred the way my brows looked shaped with a pencil, and wanted some help evening them out. The results actually turned out so much more subtle than I expected, more of a non makeup-look, so I still find myself penciling them whenever I wear a full face of makeup. It definitely did give my brows a boost though.

Paris Rendezvous

Whenever you do anything permanent or even semi permanent to your body — tattoos, laser hair removal, plastic surgery — they will always remind you that beauty standards and trends change, so choose wisely. So when I went under the needle for my brows, I started thinking about brow trends in my time. The full eyebrow look has been going strong the last several years and I’ve embraced it. If you had told me that as a tweezer happy fifteen year old in the early 00’s I would have said “horrendous!”. But nowadays I find full brows are youthful and have a natural beauty to them, which is the preferred look here in France. When it comes to brows and 2017, I’m sure glad the full look is still in fashion and hope it never thins away

Which brings me to Sourcils Styler. Even though these days I’m using a bit less pencil, I still have to whip my brows into shape and Sourcils Styler is a new addition to my daily routine. I still am, and probably always will be, striving for the perfect brows. After all, Lily Collins really does set the bar high here at Lancôme. Talk about brow goals! If your 2017 is all about #browgoals too, give this brow gel extraordinaire a try like me. Here’s why!

My Favorite Things About Sourcils Styler

Three versatile colors seem to adapt effortlessly to any different brow shade. If you’re looking for hold, alone, there is also a basic clear option. Unsure which shade? Go for Chatain like me, it’s very versatile.
Layering for different effects means you can achieve subtle shape, hold, and fullness, or take a few passes at your brows for a bolder brow look that makes a fashion statement.
Ultra durable wear means this brow shaper goes on and stays on until you take it off, without ever having to touch it up.
Eyebrows look fuller, not just in shape but like the hair is actually thicker, denser, and overall more abundant, which I love. No bare spots here!
The ultra precise applicator makes it easy to use for foolproof application.
Keeps things under control ... my eyebrow hairs grow in every direction and need to be kept in line. Sourcils Styler shows them who's boss.
It’s natural looking finish is a result of being co-created with Lisa Eldridge to color hair and not skin (like a pencil). The result is a nice sheen that appears natural.

<![CDATA[Travel Trousse: Beauty Essentials to Pack This Summer]]>

The Parisian’s favorite summer past time has little to do with Paris in fact. When summer roles around they become great adventurers. They’ve saved up their vacation days all year long to get away from the city and get the most out of summer with vacations galore on the horizon. Who’s going where and when becomes a constant topic of conversation amongst colleagues and friends as everyone gears up to get out of town. Perhaps they’re headed to the shores of the Cote d’Azur, a summer house in Provence, or the island of Corsica. No matter where summer takes the parisienne, her beauty essentials come too in her travel trousse. As I prepare to embark on summer trips like the rest of the French, here are some of my Lancôme summer travel essentials and packing tips for you…bon voyage!

Paris Rendezvous

Leave the brushes behind — Brushes not only take up a lot of space in your makeup bag, but they also get dirty when you travel. Leave them behind by packing makeup you can apply without a brush, such as BIENFAIT TEINTÉ BEAUTY BALM for your foundation and BLUSH SUBTIL CRÈME light weight cream blush. Options like these can both be applied and blended with your fingers alone.

Pack a compact — Bringing a compact like DUAL FINISH multi-tasking powder & foundation in one, or MIRACLE CUSHION liquid makeup in a compact, are also brush free options that will make it easy for you to keep your complexion looking great on the go. In addition, the fact that they both can double up as your pocket size mirror is ultra convenient.

Be serious about sunscreen — Sun damage is irreversible, and in summer most of all we need to protect the skin we’re in. During summer travels, we’re out and about more than usual absorbing some lovely but very harmful rays. If you’re not using a B.B. Cream that has SPF, be sure to pack an an oil free sunscreen suitable for the face and neck like Lancôme’s BIENFAIT UV SPF 50+ sunscreen. You can also consolidate your moisturizer and sunscreen to save space with dual action skincare like BIENFAIT MULTI-VITAL SPF 30 CREAM.

Stay Hydrated — Travel can be exhausting, for your skin most of all. Planes, trains, automobiles, and the great outdoors with changing climates will no doubt leave your skin and lips dehydrated. No matter what, don’t slack off on your skincare routine. And for a great solution to prevent chapped lips and keep them luscious, bring along an ultra-moisturizing shade of SHINE LOVER. More than just great color pay off, its Rose de Muscat Oil acts like a balm to hydrate and rejuvenate lips on your journey.

<![CDATA[Miel-en-Mousse 2 in 1 Cleanser — A Sweet Treat for Your Skin]]>

You may have heard the news the past week that Paris has been experiencing a canicule. That’s French for HEATWAVE. So, we’ve all had more reason than normal to complain in true Parisian fashion with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees! The French are known for many things but air conditioning simply isn’t one of them so even indoors it’s hard to find solace. Outdoors it feels like an oven, hot and humid, and when I’m forced to brave the streets for errands or shoots at the moment, I’m running for shade. They say the heat will break soon but in the meantime we’re all finding little tricks to stay cool!

Paris Rendezvous

For me, washing my face when I get home from the mean hot streets has been a saving grace! A splash of cold water to cool off is just what the doctor ordered. With my new Miel-en-Mousse foaming cleanser it’s really been a treat so I really take my time at the sink.

This new foaming face cleanser from Lancôme is made with acacia honey encapsulated in water. The transformative 2-in-1 formula is created to dissolve makeup, oil, and other impurities, which feels especially nice after a hot sticky summer day. It goes on thick and decadent like honey and slowly melts into a rich velvety mousse once emulsified with water, washing away any remaining residues and leaving your skin feeling smooth and soft. It’s a gentle cleanser so perfect for dry or sensitive skin.

For honey lovers this cleanser is a must! Acacia honey comes from the nectar of tree flowers, and has amazing beneficial properties for skin, including being antibacterial and having a hefty serving of skin-saving antioxidants. It’s also great for a complexion boost as it’s extremely moisturizing and soothing, helping you get a nice glow. It’s even considered clarifying as it helps to open pores, making them easier to clean. Not to mention its smells wonderful, like a sweet little treat for your skin. And trust me, in this Parisian summer Miel-en-Mousse really is!

<![CDATA[Halloween Makeup Gets a Pop of Color with Matte Shakers]]>

It’s the spookiest time of year because Halloween is right around the corner and I, for one, am excited about that. It happens to be one of my favorite holidays, not only because I love a good fall fright, but also because it’s a fun excuse to get in touch with your artistic side by playing with makeup!

Paris Rendezvous

There something so fun about about getting to be someone or something else for the day, and I personally prefer makeup for Halloween looks to elaborate costumes as it’s easier, more affordable, and doesn’t require one to store costumes around the house all year long to be used just one day of the year.

Each year I create a few easy peasy fun and not too frightful Halloween looks to share with you here and this year, I decided to keep it spooky. My aim is always to create looks that are easy to achieve for those of us like me, and likely you, who aren’t professional makeup artists, and mostly with items we can already find in our makeup drawer. This year I also incorporated some of the amazing new shades of Matte Shakers that have just been released to add a pop of color to your costume.

ft. Auda[city] in Paris eyeshadow palette, Dual Finish Highlighter, & Matte Shaker in Cherry Leader

This look is all about embracing a sultry smokey eye, for which I used my Auda[city] in Paris palette’s black and red hues to give a bloodshot look to my eyes. Vampires are also known for their iridescent skin so layer on some Dual Finish Highlighter to get that shine. Just add fangs and some Matter Shaker in Cherry Leader in the center and down the side of your lips for a blood sucking effect, and carry it with you like a little vial of blood for a vampire snack!

ft. Monsieur Big Liner, Monsieur Big Mascara, & Matte Shaker in Dark Fiction

If you want to go a bit further with your Halloween makeup, this is the look for you. As such a historic city, Paris is surely populated with a few glamorous ghosts this time of year from centuries past, which is what inspired me to create this French Phantom look. You’ll need to start with some white face paint and a can of white hairspray (totals less than $10 at the costume store). Then extra black bold eyes are created with Monsieur Big Liner and Mascara. The piece de resistance has got to be the almost black lip with the Matte Shaker Dark Fiction. It’s terrifyingly beautiful!

ft. Grandiôse Liner, Monsieur Big Mascara, & Matte Shaker in Pink Wink

Normally spiders make me squirm but I embraced them for this look by giving them a cute and friendly twist! These webs are easy to achieve with Grandiôse Liner’s delicate point. Start with a simple cat eye then add three or four extra lines outwards from the corner of the eye. Simply connect them perpendicularly with a series of wavy lines and voilà, your web is formed. I like to do two different size webs on each side for an asymmetrical look. Then heavily layer on Monsieur Big Mascara on the top and bottom for spidery lashes. Matte Shaker in Pink Wink on the lips gives the look a sweet touch, and lastly just add a few friendly spiders to your hair or earrings.

If you want to try a few of these looks, be sure to have your Bi-Facil Face makeup remover at the ready. It makes for easy and gentle cleanup when trying out Halloween looks…but I’ll tell you more about that next week!

<![CDATA[Eau Fraîche Douceur: A French Beauty Essential Ideal for Every Woman]]>

As you can imagine a lot of things have changed with my beauty routine over the years. Especially since moving to France. I think for most women, our skincare routine is a constant evolution. We adapt to our age, seasons, and environment. But there is one French beauty essential that I discovered when I moved here that I know will always be a mainstay for my skin — a micellar water.

Paris Rendezvous

The science behind micellar waters makes them much milder than chemical cleansers. Micelles are emulsifying cells, and when they come in contact with oil and dirt molecules, like those on your face per say, they penetrate, disperse, and then lift them from the surface they adhere to. Add these cells to some water and voilà, you get micellar water. Lancôme’s Eau Fraîche Douceur is also enriched with Rose de France for an extra soothing and refreshing effects as well as a beautiful scent. It also happens to be one of the most iconic and popular on the market.

So who is micellar water perfect for? Honestly, every woman (or man!) of any skin type and age. That’s one of the many things that is great about micellar water. Essentially, they’re a very gentle yet effective cleanser that purifies your skin and removes makeup from any part of the face, waterproof and eye makeup included! Afterward, there is absolutely no need to rinse and your skin is left feeling revitalised, soft, and clean. This is such a versatile product because it can act as a makeup remover, cleanser, and even a toner.

Here’s a few more reasons why I love micellar water so much and would recommend it to any woman…

• A deeper clean — I often feel like washing my face just once never gets all my makeup off. Use your Eau Fraîche Douceur on a large cotton pad to remove makeup before cleansing to make sure you really purify your face.

• Perfect for travel — Rather than packing a whole repertoire of cleansers, toners, and eye make remover, just pack your micellar water which does all three in one! C’est pratique!

• Amazing for combination skin — If you’re like me and have combination or sensitive skin, this product is so right for us. Toners can be too strong for some people and really dry out the face. Instead you can use micellar water just as you would a toner after cleansing for most of the same benefits.

• Quick and easy — If I’m in a rush, a bit lazy, or simply haven’t worn makeup on any given day, I often just cleanse with some Eau Fraîche Douceur and don’t even need to turn on the faucet!

<![CDATA[Custom Highlighting Drops — How to Get the French Bonne Mine!]]>

When I tell people in Paris that I’m from California they always ask me if I miss it, and I do. Paris is my home but as my two weeks back in California come to an end, I can’t deny that there are indeed many things I miss when I’m away. I miss picking fresh citrus from my dad’s garden, I miss the beach ever close to the back door, and I miss my family. Though I think the thing I miss the most is the light...the sunshine.

Paris Rendezvous

We didn’t win the title of sunshine state, but we sure do get more than our fair share of it. Each morning here it lures me out of bed telling me to seize this beautiful day. In their sheer abundance, many Californians must take these rays for granted. But I don’t, not when I’m here and not when I dream of them when I’m away. If I could take only one thing home with me to Paris it would be that beautiful light. From the golden glow of the early morning to the rose glow of the evening sunsets, I wish I could bottle up every shade of California sunshine and save it for those wintery days when I need it the most.

Something about being there is so rejuvenating, like a breath of fresh air for the mind, body, soul..and my skin. The sea air blows and the sun shines down, and barefoot in the sand I close my eyes and raise my face to catch both, taking in a deep breath with it all. It’s a simple and majestic pleasure that is quintessential to California, to me, bringing me back to the simple things, the laid back vibes I grew up with…

This time I’ll be going back to Paris with a slight tan, rather more sun-kiss to my skin I suppose. But however slight, the Parisians will notice. They’ll say tu as bonne mine! as soon as they see me, and ask me where I have been. It’s the French way of saying you have a healthy glow, and a friendly invitation to brag about what warm place you’ve escaped to mid-winter that left you more radiant than before.

While I can’t take the light back home with me, I now have the next best thing, meeting me somewhere in the middle of my sun-kissed tan and a bottle of California sunshine, Lancôme’s Custom Highlighting Drops.

These new lightweight, highly pigmented liquid highlighters and bronzers easily blend with foundation to give you the power to control your glow. The water-in-oil emulsion can be added directly to your foundation sur-mesure with the dropper for an overall dewy effect, or applied directly to skin for strobing. For me, a drop of Champagne Glow has been the perfect compliment to my new Skin Feels Good, which I follow up by applying Rose Glow directly to my cheekbones as a bronzer blush. It’s been my go-to look for my trip in California that I’ll keep up back in Paris.

And for you, whether you use these highlighters to define your best features or create an overall dewy effect with your foundation, one thing is for sure, people will be asking you too where you got your bonne mine! You can tell them Lancôme! For now I think I’ll keep telling the inquiring Parisians I got mine in California, if only just to keep our beauty secret a little longer...

<![CDATA[Les Bises — A Guide to the French and Kissing]]>

When I talk about the French and kissing, surely your mind goes straight to the “french kiss”. What is it with the French and kissing? They seem to be the only nationality to stake a claim on a whole genre of kiss. Given their reputation as lovers and for public displays of affection, I say they deserve it. But their love of kissing is not confined just to romance and locking lips.

Paris Rendezvous

The French kiss their friends, they kiss their family, they kiss their colleagues…they even kiss strangers! In fact in many situations, it would be rude not to kiss anyone, imagine that! But of course these french kisses are very different from the “french kiss”. That would be considered what we call a bisous of sorts in French.

What I want to talk about is a kiss on the cheek, or several. In France we call these les bises, meaning the casual kisses on the cheek we use to say hello and goodbye. They come in bundles of two, three, and in some regions even four! Typically you would start on the left side, but every once in a while people start on the side you didn’t expect and the two of you will almost end up locking lips! Awkward and of kind of adorable.

All of that kissing means you shouldn’t be alarmed if your boyfriend comes home with some lipstick on his cheek…c’est normal! But you’ll never be guilty of such offences with the new Matte Shakers. They’re transfer free, meaning they go on your lips and stay there, instead of your friends' faces. It’s the most kissable lip product I’ve ever owned for sure, which is indispensable here in France. I can’t get enough of Beige Vintage, and now that you have that little beauty secret, here is a quick crash course in les bises!

Les bises in...

Social Settings — When greeting our friends in France we always employ les bises. It is the polite way to greet friends and friends of friends (even if you are meeting for the first time!). Yes, this means when walking into a party or sitting down at a table, if it’s physically possible you should go around and kiss everyone on the cheek when you arrive, and when you leave.

Professional Meetings — When meeting work contacts for the first time, never use the kisses. A nice handshake will usually do for the first several meetings. Once you know each other a bit, say having talked about life outside of work, it’s okay to be more casual and use les bises when arriving and leaving, especially between women.

Amongst Colleagues — Most of us see our colleagues every day, so we know them well. In this case, you can use les bises when greeting them and saying goodbye. However, since it would be a bit exhausting to kiss everyone hello and goodbye at the office everyday most people don’t feel obliged every time and this isn’t considered rude.

<![CDATA[Bi-Facil: Bye-Bye Halloween Makeup!]]>

Let’s admit it, putting on Halloween makeup is about one hundred times more fun than taking it off. But Halloween or not, how you take off your makeup is as important as how you put it on. There are right and wrong ways to do it.

Paris Rendezvous

Luckily, this year Lancôme launched Bi-Facil Face. Facil means “easy” in French and it’s the name of this ultimate makeup remover because it makes taking off all those extra layers of makeup easier than ever. This full face version of Bi-Facil is all about giving you the freedom to create through the power to erase. I once saw an article titled “15 Halloween Makeup Looks to Try Right Now!” and thought to myself, how on earth could one try so many looks? Well, I wouldn’t recommend it but with Bi-Facil Face, you might just be able to. Three sounds more reasonable, like the three makeup-centric costumes I created this year for a chic and spooky Halloween. If you want to give one or more a try before the night of the 31st, Bi-Facil Face is the ultimate creative companion in makeup creation.

With the power to dissolve even the most stubborn long-wear face makeup, it also cleanses your complexion and leaves it feeling refreshed for a no-makeup breather or whatever you decide to create next. It has unique bi-phased characteristics, beginning with the oil phase to dissolve makeup, followed by the micellar water phase to cleanse and remove excess residue while refreshing and calming skin.

Bi-Facil Face can be used all over, but for special attention to stubborn eye makeup (hello waterproof mascara!) the award-winning Bi-Facil double action eye makeup remover gently whisks away all types of eye makeup with minimal effort so you can be gentle on the delicate skin around your eyes. If you need some good advice, grab some cotton pads and check out my article on makeup removal tips.

So before you kick off your Halloween creations, be sure to take advantage of Lancôme’s promotion with free 2-day shipping on any size of Bi-Facil Eye and Bi-Facil Face between October 23rd and 25th just in time for the holiday! Just use code SWIPECLEAN at checkout after adding them to your basket! Whatever Halloweens looks you create, Bi-Facil Face and Bi- Facil Eye will be sure to have you effortlessly back to normal by November 1st…

<![CDATA[Visionnaire Crescendo — Your Skin’s Personal Trainer]]>

Around the end of last year, I discovered an incredible place right around the corner from my apartment. I had been thinking of joining a gym, but the idea started to seem silly considering how beautiful Paris is. Why lock myself up inside to work out instead of taking advantage of our beautiful outdoors? So I went exploring and I ended up finding an amazing park hidden behind Saint Paul, actually more of a playground if you will, that the city fixed up last year into a beautiful recreational area. There are sprinting lanes, soccer goals, basketball hoops, gymnastics bars, and more. What a find! I’ve been working out here ever since pushing myself to get in better shape.

Paris Rendezvous

Coincidentally, around the same time, I got my hands on the new Visionnaire Crescendo. Crescendo is like a personal trainer for your skin in the form of a gentle and gradual peel. Just like I had been needing to get back in shape, sometimes we need to motivate our skin to do so too. Many women turn to peels when they need a fresh start for their skin, but so many of those peels can be too intense, leaving skin red and raw in a matter of minutes and requiring down time before feeling ready to face the world again. While they may be effective, what if there was a gentler, more gradual way to get even better results? Crescendo’s SIIT technology (Skin Intensity Interval Training) helps kick-start your complexion in two phases…

Crescendo’s Dual Phase Peel

PHASE 1: Let’s ease into this. You wouldn’t run a marathon without training first. Preparation is essential. So, let’s start off by boosting your skin’s natural ability to renew itself. In PHASE 1, Quinoa Husk Extract gently exfoliates to clean dead skin cells, while hydrating benefits facilitate the penetration of the biological and chemical peeling actives like AHA fruit extracts to stimulate cell renewal. After 14 nights your skin is awoken with visible signs of improvement and its surface smooth and prepped for higher intensity training in PHASE 2.

PHASE 2: Let’s pump it up. Now is the time to maximize rejuvenation. Your skin is ready. Remember it’s been preparing for this for two weeks. Now that the most superficial layers of dead skin have been eliminated, nothing can get in our way. PHASE 2 goes deeper with a combination of glycolic and salicylic acids for a profound more intense exfoliation. And that tiny tingling sensation? Don’t sweat it. That means these well known active ingredients are working, loosening the dead cells that cause fine lines, discoloration, and enlarged pores. What lies beneath is healthier, livelier, and more radiant new skin that is smooth and fresh.

Just like a personal trainer for your body, Crescendo works with your skin to increase its performance and cell turnover. 84% of women, myself included, say that they felt more beautiful after using it. Fewer fine lines, less discolouration, and smaller pores means more radiant youthful skin is revealed with this innovative new 28 day routine! Between Crescendo and my new workout routine, this spring is shaping up to be a fit one for me!

<![CDATA[Rendez-Vous with Peju Famojure: An Editor’s Paris Fashion Week Beauty Essentials]]>

This week Paris is bustling with yet another fashion week jammed pack full of shows, presentations, and press events. In fact in Paris, fashion week isn’t just a week, it’s a full ten days! In my opinion, the fleet of fashion women managing to make it through in style are warriors. To give you some insight into how they do it and what Paris Fashion Week is really like for a woman in the business, I thought I would introduce you to editor, stylist, and street style star Peju Famojure. I gave her a few of my Lancôme beauty favorites to test out and she’s revealed some of her fashion week beauty essentials and survival tips…

Paris Rendezvous

Can you tell us a bit about you and what you do in the fashion industry and how it brought you to Paris?

I am a freelance fashion editor from New York that works between NYC and Paris now. I have worked with titles such as Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Interview and Elle where I research and curate the offerings in each market, and fashion week is when I get to see next season’s collections. From the trend pages to the fashion editorials, I get the chance to work with renowned fashion industry talents and travel the world. I was instantly seduced by Paris. From the beauty of its architecture to the inspiring exhibitions, it left me in awe. Of course, as a fashion capital I had always wanted to experience what it’s like to live and work here and when I got the opportunity a few years ago I knew I had to take it.

What are a few of your fashion week beauty essentials?

I try to spoil my skin at night with a luxurious serum and sometimes even during the day for an extra moisture boost. My signature cat eye is my go-to look and I like to use a very black eye liner. Artliner’s felt eyeliner in black is perfect for me. The Teint Idole Ultra Longwear Foundation Stick is great to brighten up the under eye area, and perfect for fashion week because it is made for those long days to give lasting but comfortable full coverage. I also really like the highlighting and strobing trend lately, especially that it universally looks great on women of all skin tones and so I’ve really enjoyed Le Duo Stick.

Do you have a favorite spot in Paris during fashion week, maybe for people watching or to escape the madness?

During fashion week I actually like to try to get home as much as possible! It's so nice to go to somewhere really cozy after long work days running around. But if I can't get home, you might find me at Cafe Castiglione. It's central to fashion week madness as it’s right on the rue Saint Honoré so not far from the shows in the Tuileries. And of course, it’s quintessentially French and has a great menu.

Can you give us some fashion week survival tips?

Fashion week always means late nights and early morning wakeup calls, so I always try to plan my outfits the night before to make the morning easier because I know the moment I head out of the house it’s going to be non-stop. I have found that drinking a glass with dissolved Berocca tablets before bed every night really helps too. That extra boost of Vitamin C and Zinc helps to fight off any killer colds you can catch. Also, it's often hard to find time between shows to get a bite to eat so keeping snacks on hand is essential.

<![CDATA[Parisian Pop: Effortless French Chic with a Pop of Color!]]>

I was walking through one of my favorite gardens in Paris the other day when I came across something incredible. In fact, it’s nothing I hadn’t seen before but each year it never ceases to amaze me. Pops of bright pink magnolias budding at the tips of the otherwise barren branches, nearly frozen in the winter air. “Already? Could Spring possibly be here?” We are all anxiously awaiting. But no, not quite yet.

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The magnolias blooming in the trees are always the first sign though — nature’s way of telling us it’s not long now before winter thaws and we are all watching spring flowers bloom across the city leaving little pops of color for us all over! I stopped to marvel at them a while. Each person that passed seemed to pause and take them in as we turned to one another to say “Aren’t they magnificent?” Once magnolia flowers bloom and drop to the ground, their bright green leaves will follow, filling the trees for the first time since shedding them last fall.

This must have been the inspiration behind Lancôme’s new Parisian Pop collection, a gorgeous grouping of new vibrant eyeshadow palettes and bright liquid liners to bring back the color and make your eyes pop! There are even two new shades of Hypnôse Dazzling called Chromatics in an Amethyste and gold called Saint-Honore after one of Paris’s most famous shopping streets, off of which I just happened to find these magnolias blooming in my favorite garden.

The philosophy of the collection is effortless French chic with a pop of color for a makeup look that is never undone but never overdone. After a drab winter it’s what we all need to liven things up a bit. Personally, as much I have enjoyed the simplicity of the “no makeup makeup looks” and monochromatic color schemes that have been trendy on the beauty scene for some time now, they leave me longing for something more. So I say minimal is out...bring back the color because we’re ready to play! And play with this gorgeous eye collection I did!

For me, they are the perfect way to liven up a simple outfit. I can easily see a Parisienne in a crisp white shirt and relaxed jeans giving a pop of color to her simple chic outfit with the Rose Tempete Color Design Eyeshadow Palette and Amethyste mascara. I loved to bring out the color of my blue eyes with the Bleu Riviera palette and the Saphir Artliner, and know the Olive Soleil is just perfect for green and brown-eyed beauties paired with the Menthe or Jade Artliner.

Whether you pick just one bright liner to stand out, or try the whole collection, Parisian Pop is perfect to mix and match, bringing a pop of color to any outfit and your beauty routine!

<![CDATA[Need a lift? — Rénergie Multi Action Lifting & Firming Mask]]>

What are you doing tonight? Do you need a lift? Non non, I don’t mean a ride. If it’s as cold there as it is here my bet is you’re staying inside tonight. What a perfect excuse for one of my favorite activities — promaskinating! If you’re not a big promaskinator yet it’s easy. All you need is to cozy up and tuck in for an early night with your favorite book or television show, plus your favorite face mask.

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If a light lift and a bit of firming is what the doctor has ordered then I’ve got the perfect mask for you. A little birdie told me about it recently, and by a little birdie I mean one of my regular Paris Rendez-Vous readers, Luba, who said she has been absolutely loving this new mask from Lancôme lately. So I thought I would throw it into my routine this week and see what it’s all about!

Rénergie Lift Multi Action Lifting & Firming Mask is charged with 17% Beeswax and Carnauba Wax to help restore skin’s elasticity and leave skin feeling tightened and nurtured. It helps to contour facial definition to leave skin nourished, facial features redefined, and give an overall lifted appearance. You can use it all over your face, or target problem areas like jowls or even your neck area for example. It starts off like a thick cream and subtly melts with your skin’s natural warmth.

Depending on how much down time you’re willing to dedicate to lifting and firming, there’s two options for using this mask. You can apply and kick back and relax for a bit to get a feel for its firming effects, which you can start to see even after just 15 minutes. Or, you can even sleep in it for 8 hours overnight for amplified results. When you wake up you’ll notice your skin feels tighter, firmer, plump, and lifted! Now that is what I call beauty sleep…

I used it one time and felt the firming effects, but regular use such as two to three times a week over one month brings further benefits, including making skin more supple and elastic, and diminishing fine lines. Along with all that lifting of course…five stars!

So no need to go outside to get a lift. I hear the cold is rolling in over in the States, something the news is calling a polar vortex! Sounds like a good time to stay in and try this new mask a try. By the time the cold rolls over and thaws out, you’ll be ready to get out and début your new lifting and firming beauty secret, the Rénergie Lift Mask!

<![CDATA[New Year, New Absolue]]>

First off, let me start this rendezvous by wishing you all Bonne Année! That’s how we say Happy New Year in French. I haven’t had the chance to do so yet as 2019 has been off to a very slow start for me. The New Year rolled into town with a terrible flu that knocked me down for two straight weeks! So while it hasn’t necessarily been a bonne année for me thus far, I’m confident that 2019 can only get better from here on out.

Paris Rendezvous

I’m finally back on my feet this week having learned not to take my health, or anything for that matter, for granted. I would say that it is a good resolution to start the year off with. And although I’m feeling better, I couldn’t help but notice I wasn’t entirely looking better. Being sick has a way of taking its toll on our skin too — poor sleep, dehydration, exhaustion, the constant nose blowing — they can all zap skin of radiance and moisture and leave us with fine lines and a dull complexion for days or even weeks long after our sickness is gone.

So this week I reached for a little holiday gift from Lancôme I hadn’t yet opened up and found the perfect fix inside, the new Absolue Revitalizing & Brightening Soft Cream with Grand Rose Extracts. All of the Absolue range is divinely luxurious, and their beautiful gold packaging is the first hint at what a treat awaits inside: a soft cream facial moisturiser with everything my skin needs right now.

Made with an exclusive blend of Grand Rose Extracts, this indulgent cream visibly revitalizes skin with moisture, firmness and plumpness. Its unique texture transforms from a thick hydrating cream, to a thin serum-like lotion, and finally to a thick layer plumping skin with moisture. The result is fewer fine lines, twenty-four hour hydration, and brighter more radiant skin achieved by improving skin cell renewal. Delivering ultimate hydration, it also works to protect your moisture barrier which is essential in winter. In just a few days my skin is starting to return to normal after spoiling it with the new Absolue. With Absolue Revitalizing & Brightening Cream women see younger looking skin in just four weeks so if I keep it up until February, I might just turn back the clock to 2018!

Don’t forget that every new year can be a beautiful new start for your skin. Over time with age our skin changes and so does its needs, so it’s no surprise your skincare might need to change too. What better time than the start of each year to resolve to give our skin everything it needs. Whether it’s with the new Absolue or any of the other Lancôme skincare range, let’s make our skin look as good as we want 2019 to be!

<![CDATA[Ultra Violet — Play with Pantone’s Color of the Year]]>

The days are grey and cold in winter and even in Paris they can feel a bit drab. More often than not I find myself head-to-toe in all black looking more somber than I’d like, in sync with the weather I suppose. And while I hardly meet anyone who looks forward to this time of year for such reasons, one of the brighter sides of January is discovering Pantone’s color of year! Here amidst the darkest and coldest days on the calendar, Pantone’s choice might just be our saving grace — Ultra Violet!

Paris Rendezvous

Ultra Violet is an inventive and imaginative color associated with creative inspiration and artistic expression. It’s certainly having that effect on me as I decided to play with violet in my makeup to bring some much needed vibrance to some grey days and drab outfits. I must say, I’m quite pleased with the results. I gave Grandiôse Liner a go in Violet and the color payoff was to eye for! The bendable wand makes it easy to get the perfect shape, but why stop there? I lined my lower eye with Le Crayon Khôl in Purple Dusk to amplify the effect. The result was ultra violet eyes that brightened my outlook and took my outfit to the next level.

Lancôme has given us lots of way to play with violet in our makeup this year to add a bit of vibrance to our look. And here in winter I say, why wait? Consider some of my favorites and how to wear them…

Le Métallique in Meteoric Violet — Oh how I’ve been dying to try this one and you just might beat me too it! Give this full coverage metallic lip lacquer a try in violet with the perfect little black dress for a bold night out look.

Le Stylo Waterproof in Amethyst — Take an ordinary smudgy and smokey eye and make it violet! All at once classic and edgy and perfectly paired with a nude lip.

L’Asbolu Rouge in Impertinente — This gorgeous color will have your lips wrapped in a satiny sheer shade of violet that’s a great option for daytime with a casual outfit.

Color Design 5 Pan Palette in Jacaranda Bloom — Go all out with a pretty purple look that can be achieved with this palette and complete the look with clear glossy lip.

Color Design lipstick in Party Ready — Party Ready say no more, all you need is this perfectly pigmented purple with a Matte Finish on your lips to be ready for any soirée.

<![CDATA[Bonjour: A perfect day for a rendez-vous in Paris...]]>

This winter morning, the sun has come out to shine its bright gold rays on Paris. It’s a fitting forecast for a rendez-vous to welcome those of you who already know me to this radiant new corner of the Lancôme site, as well as to say 'enchantée' with an introduction for those just meeting me.

When I first moved to Paris I didn't know a single soul. The city was my best company and I explored it on foot finding little cafés, boutiques and musées to enchant me. Five years later and there is hardly a moment to spare on a day like this, my agenda filled with friends from Montmartre to Montparnasse and hundreds of things to inspire my work along the way. For me there’s no better place than here to be creative, with its abundance of inspiration everywhere you look. Just as it has in my own life, the city of Paris has played a unique role in the heritage of Lancôme and its art of capturing French elegance. In this capital of beauty and fashion, I am passionate about exploring through my writing and photography the way these two things fit into a woman’s unique lifestyle.


Three years ago I began giving readers a look into my life as an American girl in Paris on my blog, Making Magique. I couldn’t be more excited to open that window a bit further here as the voice of Lancôme in the New Year! As an official guest blogger, each week I’ll be sharing beauty secrets, fashion favorites, and my tips and experiences around the City of Light in culture, cuisine and more.

I’m so excited for everything we have planned for you here, so meet me each week on Lancôme.com for new ideas and adventures in our own Paris Rendez-vous. Later this week I’ll share with you some of my favorite places in Paris, but for now before you can say 'On y va!' I must be on my way. There's no time to fuss, just what a girl can't leave the house without and nothing less: a bit of lipstick, a touch of mascara and some light foundation. With my best face forward, anything can happen…

<![CDATA[Greenery — Playing with Pantone’s Color of the Year]]>

It’s around this time that the first hints of spring start popping up in Paris. If we are lucky, spring gives us a preview in time to welcome the many visitors for fashion week at the start of each March. But normally, the first sign is the magnolias on the trees in the Palais Royal. Every year they surprise me, almost as if they’ve come too soon. But within a few weeks, little green leaves begin sprouting from the trees lining the Seine and the streets too, filling in the spaces between the branches left empty since autumn. And just like that, Paris is bursting with foliage, vibrant with color once again. Color can evoke so many stories, and this is Paris’s with Pantone’s 2017 color of the year — Greenery.

Paris Rendezvous

On the heels of another fashion week and the start of spring, I always find myself trying new things with my wardrobe and makeup. What more perfect time to play with Pantone’s Color of the Year. Greens in makeup is something I have always found striking on dark and olive skin tones. As a fair blonde I wondered if I could wear it well too. As it turns out, shades of green tend to be forgiving no matter your complexion, and whatever your eye color, they bring out the most vibrant hues of the iris. Lancôme gives us a few ways to play with Greenery in our makeup. Here are some of my favorite ways to wear it...

Color Design Palette in Jade Fever — A beautiful palette with warm greens complimented by champagnes and light browns to create sultry green smokey eyes. Lancôme’s Color Design palettes are the ultimate in effortless color play and this one is the go-to for green.

Grandiôse Liner in Vert — A new addition to the Grandiôse line, this shade of green liquid liner is a bright and playful way to frame your eyes in an unexpected way by updating a simple cat eye with some green or trying a graphic eye design.

Le Crayon Khôl in Moss — This green liner is such a simple and modern way to make a statement with this color of the year. I love the idea of lining the waterline of the eyes to give them a pop of greenery. It’s a style statement that can really elevate a simple monocratic outfit.

Le Stylo Waterproof in Vert Tuileries — Inspired by the iconic green park chairs of the Tuileries gardens, I love the look of this gorgeous green pencil smudged around the outer corners of the eyes to brighten your regard.

Color Design in Splurge — As true to the Pantone color as it gets, this bright green shade of shadow offers buildable color for your lids and is only suited for the fashion forward! I love the look of this shadow especially on darker skin tones with a nude lip.

<![CDATA[Breathless: My Favorite Black & White Film Heroine Reinvented in Living Color]]>

Whenever I’m in search of some beauty and fashion inspiration, one of my favorite places to turn to is classic French cinema. Films from the Nouvelle Vague genre of the 50’s and 60’s are always a feast for my eyes. The French economy was booming at the time, politics and style were churning with revolutionary ideas, and French directors sought to capture the mood of society in this edgy new style of impromptu and fast paced film making. Names like Goddard and Truffaut might ring a bell, whose films are jam-packed with design and decor, fashion and beauty, music and more that never ceases to inspire me with their retro details.

Paris Rendezvous

At the top of my list is À Bout du Souffle, or “Breathless”, the story of a petty thief named Michel and his misadventures and love affair with his girlfriend, Patricia, an American student and aspiring journalist. From the Champs Elysées, to Parisian street cafés, to racing around town in a convertible, Michel is on the run, dodging the police until Patricia learns the true extent of his crimes and begins to question her loyalties. Patricia is played by none other than Jean Seberg, who like me was an American in Paris. The actress became a heroine of the French New Wave cinema and François Truffaut even called her "the best actress in Europe” at the time.

Nothing about Seberg’s ensembles and makeup in the film are complicated. They are simple, so french, and timeless. Her pixie cut is perfect for her round youthful face, and we never see her without that little swipe of black liquid liner French girls are so fond of, even while just lounging around her apartment. But seeing as the film is in black and white, some details of her style are always left to my imagination.

So I thought why not reinvent some of her looks from the film for today with a touch of color using my Color Design Matte Lip Crayons. The names of so many of the shades almost seem to be inspired by the film itself! I can see Patricia pacing up and down the the Champs Élysées selling The New York Herald Tribune and wearing a shade of “Lipstick Avenue” when she appears for the first time in the film. Or a bright red in “Oui, Monsieur” as Patricia is duped by the handsome Michel into allowing him to hide out in her apartment. And lastly, a bright pink shade of “Partner in Crime” as she agrees to go on the run with her wanted beau.

The movie is such great fun! If you're curious you can watch it in its entirety these days on YouTube, or just browse its most famous clips there! And with a few Parisian Wardrobe Essentials and a touch of Lancôme’s Lip Crayons you too can embody its famous heroine’s cinematic style…

<![CDATA[Fool Proof Nail Art for Spring]]>

You know those women who always find the time to get a manicure, the ones whose fingernails are polished and shaped to perfection any day of the week? I wish I could tell you I was one of them but I must confess, I’m not and I never have been.

Someone said to me recently they think a woman’s fingernails say a lot about her. If that’s the case then mine probably tell the world that I’m very busy. That is true, but when it comes to my nails I do always make sure they are clean and evenly filed. But polishing them is something I only occasionally find the time for, let alone an appointment for a proper manicure and some fancy nail art. I’ve had no trouble getting away with it here as French women are surprisingly low maintenance when it comes to their nails. But beauty trends go both ways between The States and the French capital here, as frequently now I’m finding my Parisian counterparts doing more with their manicure.

So along came a rainy day in Paris and a little time to stay inside and find a moment for my fingers. I invited my friend Ana over to test some foolproof, do-it-yourself, nail art looks I dreamed up and see if I might be able to find the time for them in my day-to-day life after all. Turns out beautiful nails are not as difficult as I thought! Maybe you too will give these looks a try...

Paris Rendezvous

Tiny Hearts (with heart stickers and two shades of polish)

Apply two coats of the background color of your choice. Let it dry thoroughly and then place the heart stickers in the center of each nail. Paint over with the second color to fill in the heart. This works both ways depending on what stickers you have, either painting around the heart to create the shape or filling in the negative space. Let them dry thoroughly and then gently apply a clear top coat.

Linear Fade (with tape, one base color, and varying tones of the same hue)

Apply your neutral background color and let it dry. Place the pieces of tape at an angle covering the bottom part of the nail to protect the base polish. Then, with varying colors ordered from light to dark, paint over the tips and let dry thoroughly before removing the tape. Finish with a clear top coat.

Half Moon (with circular labels and two shades of polish)

Apply one or two coats of the color you want for the half moon shape. Let dry thoroughly and place the round stickers to cover the lower third of your nail. Then paint over it with one to two coats of the second polish. Let dry thoroughly, remove the stickers gently, and finish with a top coat.

<![CDATA[The Perfect Rouge]]>

I have a small confession. I’m guilty of doing a little bit of shopping for myself while out and about in Paris the last couple days looking for Christmas gifts. A little refill was in order for my go-to red Lancôme lipstick, so I stopped into the Lancôme Institut de Beauté on the rue Saint Honoré. As a Parisian beauty essential, it gets its fair share of wear...

Paris Rendezvous

A bold red lip is a timeless classic that can be paired with so many different styles. It’s also my little beauty trick for looking done up and put together on the fly when I’ve had little to no time for hair and makeup. Just slick your hair back in a tousled ponytail and swipe on a bit of rouge, et voilà , no one will even suspect you popped out of bed ten minutes ago! Red lips can look great on anyone, as long as you know how to pick out the right rouge for your skin tone. Of course we can play with all ends of the spectrum with lipstick to achieve different effects, but for a classic red rouge à levres look here are the general rules of thumb...

• For fair skin tones like myself, go for cooler reds. Also sometimes referred to as blue reds, they won’t clash with our pink undertones so as not to look shocking or bring out imperfections. In terms of brightness, the more fair your skin is the less bright you need your red lipstick to be, as it’s already going to stand out. I found L’Absolu Rouge in Rose Lancôme is a great match.
• For medium skin tones with more olive complexions, a true red in the middle of the spectrum is perfect for you: not too cool and not too warm. It’s okay so go slightly brighter than fair tones would, as you’ll need a bit of oomph to make your red stand out. L’Absolu Rouge in Saffron Silk will look gorgeous on you. in Rose Lancôme is a great match.
• For darker skin tones , you should lean towards reds that are warmer, with hues of orange in them. Brighter shades will contrast with your skin more, and make your red really pop out from dark skin. L’Absolu Rouge in Absolu Rouge is a classic warm and bold red that is perfect for you.

<![CDATA[A Scent to Remind You That Life Is Beautiful]]>

What’s in a scent? For me, there’s an entire story. A fragrance can recall places, people and feelings. Smell is the strongest sense tied to memory, and for that reason even the perfumes I no longer wear I keep to decorate my vanity, stopping from time to time to revisit them in passing and reminisce in the memories they bring back.

One of those particular memories is when I moved to Paris. After months of anticipation that felt like a lifetime, the day had finally come to bid farewell to California. I didn’t have to make the journey alone, as I had my lovely mother by my side the whole way to make sure I settled in nicely to my new city before seeing me off. Even then I was as nervous as I was excited. Having little idea of what I was getting myself into, my imagination was running wild with all the possibilities that awaited me. I had spent the prior half of the year working in an antique shop saving all my money in a little envelope of dreams of things I wanted to do, see and treat myself to during my first months in Paris. Hoping that it would be such a special time, before we boarded the plane I stopped into an airport shop and let go of the first of my hard earned savings. I purchased a new fragrance to wear in the coming weeks, knowing it would always be characteristic of this monumental era of my life. Even now many years later as I write this story for you, I open the bottle and all the butterflies come rushing back.

Today though, I’m in a new chapter of my story, enjoying living and working in Paris, and excited to be writing for Lancôme. Five years down the line, life in Paris is just as beautiful as I once could only imagine it. It’s only fitting then that my fragrance of the moment would be called La Vie Est Belle. Charming with notes of jasmine and orange blossom, sweet with an essence of vanilla and pear, and bold with hints of patchouli and praline: This is the scent of this season of my life. It’s just rich enough to suit the mood of chillier weather, and just light enough to carry me into the arriving spring. Choosing a scent is so important, whether it’s your signature for the season or many years to come. Even more important than how it presents you to other people is what it means to you. Treat yourself to something special, revel in the beauty of your new fragrance, and let it remind you that life is beautiful…

<![CDATA[Let’s Get Glowing — Bronze & Glow In Biarritz!]]>

What does summer mean to you? To me it’s the time I feel the most free, physically speaking first of all. More time spent barefoot on the beach, the ability to run out the door without having to grab so much as a sweater to enjoy those extra hours of sunlight, shorter work weeks for those enjoying summer Fridays, and so on. It feels freeing, like a weight off our shoulders and wind through our hair. At least that how I’m feeling after hopping down to Biarritz in the south for a little pre-summer getaway from Paris.

Paris Rendezvous

And if that’s what summer feels like, then what does it look like? From my experience…oh it looks good! I think we all wear summer well, and I personally never feel better about myself than this time of year. Summer is the perfect beach hair from salt water and sea breeze. It’s that soft skin exfoliated by the sand. It’s that nice glow you get from the warm weather and a bit of sun. That’s what makes me feel beautiful in summer and I want my makeup to reflect that too.

Lancôme’s Summer 2018 Collection is a gorgeous embodiment of just how I want to wear summer, bronzed and glowing and above all, easy going. All the products in the collection are versatile and easy to use. Take the Bronze & Glow Palette for example. Its a fully sun kissed look in one cool compact, with a 2-in-1 highlighter for customizable sculpting and highlighting effect when used separately, or together for an all over glow.

Then, the gorgeous Teint Idole Blush Stick comes in warm tones that are sheer enough to let your natural summer skin show through so you won’t hide your adorable freckles you’ve rightfully earned by catching a few rays. They add just enough of that rosy flush look we get when the weather is warm out, and leave you with a dewy, daytime perfect finish. I like to coordinate and since these blush sticks in coral, pink, and red have great buildable coverage that is so easy to glide on, I actually have been using them on my lips too! They’re the perfect “throw and go” makeup item for your beach bag because you don’t need to bring along a brush or sponge. One swipe is all it takes, and on your cheeks or lips they’ll be perfectly blended with your fingers.

If those aren’t enough to get your glow going, you can really go for it with the Glow For It highlighting palette to use on your face or eyes. It’s a luminous trio to add extra radiance and twinkle to your summer look, perfectly paired with Monsieur Big Waterproof Mascara that is heat and beach friendly.

Everything that inspires me in summer is here in this collection — the beautiful shimmer of the light reflecting on the waves, the pearlescent beauty of the sea, the peaches and pinks of those summer sunsets, and beige and bronzes of sand and our summer tans. Just like summer it all feels good, and looks good too!

<![CDATA[La Nuit Trésor À La Folie]]>

There’s an old French song titled Je t’aime à la folie by Serge Lama. Another Serge with a microphone, the other being Gainsbourg of course. It’s quite easy to learn this song. He repeats himself over and over again — je t’aime à la folie, je t’aime à la folie, je t’aime à la folie.

Paris Rendezvous

To love à la folie means to love truly, to love deeply, to love madly. It may be forever or only for a moment, but for however long it is, it is wonderful. Have you experienced this sensation, when love is at its height, at its most powerful? Some may call it ecstasy but I prefer madness. A sort of lâcher prise where you give yourself over fully to love like you’re capable of doing anything for it. All at once you feel as though time has stopped and yet that centuries could pass in the blink of an eye.

If you’re lucky to experience this once in your life then you know it is a moment you want to hold onto forever. To savor and treasure, to revisit it again and again in memory. A metaphysical place that you yearn to return to, with the perfect companion ideally. It may seem indescribable, but like a kind of synesthesia for each of us this madness may have a color? A sound? A scent?

Like vibrant fresh cut roses thrown to the wind, the strength of wood, the sweet musky scent of vanilla, the fieriness of patchouli. What if these all converged to form a sensual and addictive love story, compressed to form a dazzling gem encapsulating that moment of madness. This is La Nuit Trésor À La Folie, a new jewel in the Trésor fragrance family that is the most thrilling scent yet.

I wish I could say otherwise but it’s been a while since I felt that folie, that thrill, a moment to let go in love and get swept away in it all. If ever there were a scene set for a love story, then Paris is surely it. But lately though the cast seems to be incomplete, and plenty of work lined up for myself to fill the time, they might have taken to romance a girl like me. I needed an escape, a release, and moment to let go and feel alive.

So I reached for this dazzling new jewel on my vanity and headed out into the night. As I sprayed À la folie through my hair and on my décolletage a little bit of that madness came over me. I inhaled, closed my eyes and let go, losing myself in the night, if only for a minute. As I opened them I could have sworn I heard those words whispered in my ear. And I did, coming from the cafe down the street. It was Serge Lama on the radio singing again... je t’aime à la folie, je t’aime à la folie, je t’aime à la folie.

<![CDATA[Christmas Comes Early! — Lancôme’s Holiday Color Collection]]>

The days are still getting shorter and darker, but the arrival of this year’s Lancôme holiday collection is bringing tons of color and light to my days as of late. It’s so jam packed with amazing products that it feels like Christmas has come early, which is why I’ve already started wearing it this week. It’s not the only way I’ve kicked off the season, as I have to confess I had my tree up before December 1st even arrived!

Paris Rendezvous

Each year the holiday season is full of occasions for us to up our makeup game, to bring out the sparkle and light up the night with festive looks for fun holiday fêtes. I have my first holiday party tomorrow eve, and many more on the way. With not one but two amazing Starlight Sparkle shadow palettes, I can create endless eye looks to accent my holiday attire! I start with beautiful rich greens, blues, and burgundies and then layer on some shine with the iridescents, metallics, and sparkly shades that accompany them.

For lips I’m loving the Starlight Sparkle L’Absolu Rouge Lip Art Palette. It features six of the most popular Absolu Rouge shades in a moisturising and easily blend-able formula so you can pick and choose or even create your own perfect shade. But my favorite thing about this palette are the two sparkling topcoats. One silver and one gold, they are the perfect touch to add that holiday sparkle to your look to make it festive and have your lips really stand out.

While the Starlight Sparkle palettes are for eyes and lips are real standouts, the piece de resistance of this collection might just be the Starlight Sparkle Rose A Poudrer! Lancôme first edition was such a hit they brought it back in a golden shade for you to get your hands on these holidays. This highlighting luminous powder encased in a gold jewellery box on rose petals is so dreamy, and gives a gorgeous pearlescent glow to finish your look. With it’s breathtaking presentation, I couldn’t help but think this also makes the perfect present this holiday season!

And speaking of gifting, if you can resist scooping up this collection all for yourself that is, there are a few staples in this collection reinvented in festive limited edition packaging I know any lady would love! Like the Monsieur Big Limited Edition Mascara for one that delivers mega volume to lashes in an ultra girly hot pink glittery package. It’s so cute and the perfect gift for girl friends. Hello stocking stuffers! For the more sophisticated women on your gifting list the special Starlight Sparkle Edition of Hypnôse drama in a gorgeous rose gold tube is also sure to be a hit. And of course any of lady would be lucky to receive one of the L’Asbolu Rouge colours now adorned with a Limited Edition sparkling rose gold case.

The special edition rose gold boxes for every item in the collection are so gorgeous all one needs is to add a bow and they are ready to shine underneath the tree! So for you or for the lucky ones on your list, go ahead and get in the holiday spirit with Starlight Sparkle Holiday Color Collection…tis the season!

<![CDATA[La Rentrée: Say goodbye to summer with a fresh face for fall!]]>

Have you ever heard the French use the expression la rentrée? Each September, Parisians are abuzz with it, in a frenzy to suddenly get life back in order after their leisurely annual vacations come to an end. We all return to the city, kids go back to school, and the rest of us back to work, full of enthusiasm.

Paris Rendez-vous

This year la rentrée also happens to mark six years in Paris for me. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by! When I arrived that September I was just a student, and very much a girl. Six years later, school is a thing of the past and I feel like a woman. Honestly, I love the independence and wisdom that comes with those years. However, I know time can work against me too when it comes to my skin.

I always approach la rentrée as a fresh start. I see this as the moment to start new happy and healthy habits. I began buying myself my favorite roses each Monday to fill my home with life at the start of each week. This symbol of Lancôme also happens to be my favorite flower, a sign of beauty and love. It’s little gesture to remind me to love and respect myself, something I know can be hard for women to find time for the busier we get with family and careers. With age on my mind, I’ve also added something else to my routine for la rentrée — Lancôme’s Rénergie. As I say goodbye to summer, I’m ready to welcome fall with a fresh face. The system is simple and comprehensive targeting every age sensitive area of our face…

Firm & Protect
As my daily moisturizer, Rénergie Lift Multi-Action is perfect for hydration and firmness, targeting every facial zone to tighten and protect skin with broad-spectrum SPF 15.

Easy on the Eyes
Specially targeted for the delicate eye area, Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Eye smooths wrinkles and reduces the appearance of dark circles and under-eye bags. Our eyes are most prone to the telltale signs of aging, so its lifting action here goes a long way.

Beauty Sleep
With Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Night as my night moisturizer, I wake up each morning looking replenished. It works in my sleep to deliver a more youthful tone and further refine fine lines when my skin is most susceptible to active ingredients.

<![CDATA[The Golden Birthday: 28 Years Young in Paris]]>

I’m not one to make a show of my birthday, but this year it’s my golden one. I turned twenty-eight years old on the 28th of June. I usually let this day fly by like any other, but this year I thought I ought to treat myself to something special.

Paris Rendezvous

With no shortage of ways to celebrate in Paris, I chose to book a suite at the Hotel Raphael in the 16th arrondissement for a five-star stay in this historic place I always dreamed of spending a night. I bought a sweet little cake from Laduree down the road and shared it with one of my best friends in the whole world. I indulged in more than my fair share of the most luxurious Lancôme products in my cabinet — the Absolue Precious Oil, Silky Day Cream, and Nourishing Lip Balm. Nothing less than the gold standard for me on this golden birthday. And of course I thought about what it really means to be me at this age.

I never look forward much to being another year older, but this year something has changed. Twenty-eight is a pivotal number. To some of you that may seem very young; in life, age is all relative. I’m officially in my late twenties now. Supposedly it’s the age women reach their sexual prime. They stop calling themselves “girls” because, like me, you might have a few grey hairs and some wrinkles to show for your time here on earth. But it’s more than that, a sort of calm that comes over you as you can finally say “Okay...this being a woman thing, I’ve got this.” It’s an air of confidence in yourself inside and out. A wisdom that only comes with time, and the great privilege of going through this life as a woman.

So on that note, here are twenty-eight of my thoughts on beauty and life, one for each of my years, that I would like to share with you...

Age is just a number. You’re never too young or too old to be the woman of your dreams. Don’t dwell in moments where you feel down about your looks. You'll just look back 25 years from now and wonder why you wasted all that time. You’re never too young to start thinking about anti-aging skincare. Wear sunscreen. Let there be one entire day each week where you don’t look in a mirror. Looks are not everything in life. Invest in quality cosmetics. Your face is worth it. Smile, not because people say it makes you prettier, but because it’s good for you. Try new things, starting with any color of lipstick you dare to. Compliment other women, you might just make her day. Any man that doesn’t make you feel beautiful just as you are isn’t right for you. Never aspire to look perfect, you’ll only set yourself up for failure. Learn to love yourself at your natural body weight — life is so much more fun this way. Eyebrows make all the difference. No matter how late, always remove your makeup before bed. Don’t pick at your skin. Aspire only to be the best version of you, never somebody else. Embrace flaws, they keep things interesting. Don’t hoard beauty secrets, sharing is caring. Throw out expired cosmetics. Bad skin days...these too shall pass. Don’t scowl, it gives you bad wrinkles. Invest in a silk pillowcase for hair and skin. Eight hours of sleep, no more no less. Enough said. Hydrate from inside and outside. Don’t squint at the sun, put on those sunglasses! Laugh a lot because those lines are the best kind of wrinkles. Never use regular soap to take off your eye makeup. And beauty is not proprietary, it belongs to each and every one of us!

<![CDATA[The Light of Happiness — La Vie Est Belle L’Éclat]]>

I don’t know when it started but it seems all my life my dad has called me "sunshine". That’s supposedly me, the happy and bubbly one, laughing and smiling, a ray of light in everyone else’s day. But those are big shoes to fill too, sometimes they feel a little too big. Like recently, when returning home from vacation was harder than expected. While away, plans had fallen through and expectations in work, love, and general didn’t quite meet reality. Yes, even in Paris, life can be less than dazzling at times, and the way I’ve been feeling started to show. The only thing more tough than being down is everyone expecting you to be bright and cheery.

Paris Rendezvous

Last week my dad said to me “You’ve got to cheer up sunshine, you have an amazing job in the most beautiful city in the world!”. He’s absolutely right. It’s not easy to forget but feeling it isn’t always so simple. This little rut has been hard to kick, but slowly and surely I’ve reminded myself happiness is a choice and each day’s magic moments helps.

Like yesterday evening when I went to pick up a package at the post office from Lancôme. I sat down at the sidewalk café on the corner and opened it up to find the new La Vie Est Belle L’Éclat eau de parfum inside. I took the flacon out of its sparkly box, placed it on the table, and began marvelling at its multifaceted design. “I bought this perfume for my wife!” said the waiter smiling as he passed by. “She adores it…la vie est belle! ”. I thought of what a nice gesture that was, how happy it must have made her to receive something so beautiful. Instantly a smile started to return to my face too. There it was, something as small as a beautiful fragrance, as simple as joy from a stranger, a little spark that began to illuminate everything in my path for the rest of the day.

As I left and walked towards the 7th arrondissement it was like each moment of my day from here on out was more beautiful. I opened the bottle and brought it to my nose, the jasmine, freesia, and orange blossom notes radiating joy. As I passed the Eiffel Tower the clock struck ten and it began to sparkle. Suddenly I was overcome with a dazzling emotion, something I hadn’t felt in a few weeks as I let myself dwell in the difficulties of life — the joy of being alive.

What I want to say is that in life it’s all part of it, to feel the ups and the downs - and that’s okay. But through it all, happiness is a choice — let it in, stay open. If you do, you will find there is light in each day, and each brighter than the last. L’éclat in French means sparkle, to be luminous, to be radiant, to shine. Be that light for others and let them be it for you, in a smile, a gesture, a fragrance…the choice is up to you and I say choose the light of happiness and you will see life is beautiful. I’ll put on my new fragrance this way each morning to remind me of just that…

<![CDATA[Mother's Day - A New Way to Say I Love You]]>

I wonder how many times in my life I’ve told my mom that I love her. Thousands upon thousands, but I’ve never been shy about that. In fact, they were surely some of the first words out of my mouth as a little girl with her. Even so, I never feel like I can say it too much.

Paris Rendezvous

Each Mother’s Day is a challenge to find new ways to tell our moms how much we love them, but a rewarding one. If you’re like me, then each Mother’s Day you are probably far away from your mom, which requires us to be bit more creative to show how thankful we are. But no matter what or from where, on that day of the year dedicated to them, it’s so important to find an extra special way to tell your own mom how much you love her, and this year I have the perfect idea for you.

It’s a gift as classic as mom herself, and signed for you by Lancôme — L’Absolu Rouge with a custom engraving. Spoil her with a fresh shade of lipstick (or several) to make her feel beautiful, and complete it with a little message to remind her each time she reaches for it how much you care. Whether you choose one engraved with her initials, or several spelling out something sweet for her, it’s a beautiful thought that really counts for mothers on this day. The lipstick engraving is now available on all forty-four shades of L’Absolu Rouge!

And if lipstick isn’t her thing, you can say it with a fragrance like Love You Mom engraved on La Vie Est Belle for the woman who taught you to see the beauty in life, or a bottle of Trésor with her initials to show her you treasure every moment with her. And, a custom engraving on her signature scent is complimentary! Et voilà, two great gifts to show and tell mom “I love you” this Mother’s Day in a new a unforgettable way.

And a very Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there, but especially my very own who is always the first to read my posts here each week. I’ve said it so many times before, and I’ll say it again…I love you Mommy!

<![CDATA[Auda[city] in Paris: A Little Bit of Paris in an Epic Eyeshadow Palette]]>

Audacity (n.) — a willingness to take bold risks

By now you know about la rentrée in Paris, this won’t be the first time I’ve mentioned it. It’s the time of year the Parisians come back from their annual month long holidays, and return to the city feeling refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the year. Much like the New Year, it’s a moment for new resolutions and new outlooks, and for me the perfect time to reboot my wardrobe and beauty arsenal. Right now my coup de coeur cosmetics obsession is the exciting new Auda[city] palette from Lancôme.

Paris Rendezvous

This epic offering of eyeshadows designed by Lisa Eldridge is inspired by the city of Paris and the parisennes that call it home. To be audacious means to be fearless, bold, and willing to be however you want, whenever you want. French women are the masters of this, always brave enough to be themselves with no apologies. Fittingly, this palette is all about liberating your style, and giving us the ultimate beauty resource to experiment with the many facets of our personality through makeup. What better time is there than la rentrée for us to play up our personalities through this amazing new Auda[city] eyeshadow palette?


1. It’s an all in one — Especially when I’m traveling, I often find myself packing a handful of eyeshadow palettes just to use one individual color from each. For the beauty junky, Auda[city] simplifies this giving you a huge selection from light to dark and matte to shimmer, so you always have what you need in a one stop shop.

2. Perfect for layering — Whether you’re feeling sweet and simple, or sultry and sexy, this palette is perfect for layering looks throughout the day. You can start out with something subtle in the morning, and as the day goes on and your agenda evolves, you can keep layering darker shades to create bolder night time looks. It will easily take your makeup from day to night without ever having to start from scratch.

3. Endless possibilities — Lancôme has dreamed up twelve fabulously French looks for any occasion that you can easily create with the Audacity palette. The possibilities are endless though. With 16 shades in the palette, it’s all about being fearless and experimenting to create looks to suit whatever style you’re ready to try.

4. A larger mirror — From a practical stand point, I loved having this palette with me on the go as the mirror is nearly triple the size of the average compact. The bigger size makes it so much easier to do all my makeup whenever and wherever I need.

5. An amazing brush — There’s no minuscule sponge brush that comes with this palette. Auda[city]’s amazing double sided brush is the real deal and amazing to work with!

<![CDATA[Boo-tiful Costumes for a Chic Halloween!]]>

Halloween is nearly here and the it’s the spookiest season of all! I must admit, I tend to miss the Unites States at this time of year. I love all of the traditions around Halloween back home — the trick or treating, the pumpkin patches, and of course the ghoulish decorations on the houses. But I have made some traditions of my own here in France around Halloween, mainly my annual Halloween costumes I dream up to share with you all here!

Paris Rendezvous

Dressing up is half the fun of Halloween, and as per my tradition, I’ve created three French inspired disguises for you to try. My aim as always is to bring you ideas that are easy, affordable and chic! And of course, all created with Lancôme favorites we might already have in our makeup drawer.

French Maid — The French maid is such an icon, conjuring up images of pinups in uniform, easily achieved with a black dress and white apron from your closet perfectly paired with a top knot or French twist. For the makeup, Monsieur Big Mascara and Art Liner in Noir give luscious lashes and classic cat eye that are ultra flirtatious just like the cliché! Le Teint Macaron for a bold blush implies a bit of cheekiness, and for her lips L'Absolu Lacquer Gloss in Rise and Shine will last through her long work hours and leave her lips as shiny as the silverware she’s polished!

Fortune Teller — If you love a bit of darkness and mystery then this is the costume for you. Fortune tellers are all about the eyes as they look into the future and deep into our souls. I used the Proenza Schouler for Lancôme Eye Kajal to achieve the extra dark eyes, blending it with Color Design in Midnight Stone to add some iridescence and a nod to fortune tellers’ supernatural crystals. Lastly to add even more drama, I used L'Absolu Rouge Drama Matte in Purple Temptation to create hypnotic lips!

Jour et Nuit — Magazines are always talking about taking our makeup from day to night, so I thought I would put my own twist on this idea for Halloween and literally create a Jour et Nuit look. To achieve the daytime side, I used Monsieur Big Color Lash Top Coat in Gold on the lashes and brows, and Color Design in Daylight and Golden Amande all over the eyes and cheeks. And for night, the Color Design 5 Pan Palette in Midnight Rush gave me all the blues and metallics I needed to create the night sky. All that’s left to add are a few star stickers and L'Absolu Gold Lacquer Gloss in Gold For it for an iridescent lip to go with both day and night!

<![CDATA[Paris en Rôse - Lancôme's 2016 Holiday Collection]]>

In Paris now the ground is covered in leaves and the skies above are gray, releasing some strange mix of snowflakes and rain that fight it out on the way down. Ultimately it’s a fine drizzle that prevails, making these gray days damp as well. It’s kind of romantic to be honest, an invitation to cozy up and hide out inside from the gloom. But the arrival of the holiday season is the real annual consolation for this cold winter weather that is now upon us.

Paris Rendezvous

As the lights start to go up around the city, everything is illuminated and Paris is sparkling once again, rain or shine or snow. And something else has arrived to brighten the season with some holiday spirit and a pop of color — Lancôme’s 2016 Holiday Collection. No way were we going to let this gray be the color of the season. This year Lancôme’s holiday look is all about playful pinks and now I’m seeing winter through rose colored glasses.

The Paris en Rôse collection features a spectrum of pinks with a touch of mauve, all illuminated by a bit of shimmer inspired by the holiday lights around Paris this time of year. Which in fact, happen to be my favorite part of this collection. The eyeliner duos pair a dark liner with a highlighting pencil on the other end, perfect for lining the water line or under eye to brighten any look this time of year. Even more exciting is the first cushion highlighter that I’ve ever seen. This sparkly compact has an illuminating highlighter inside to brighten brow bones and cheek bones.

La Palette des Rêves and one of the amazing Le Duo Khôl pencils are all you need to get the rose tinted smokey eye that’s the look of the season. Add a bit of depth in the crease if you want to go darker with the Pétit Trésor shadow in the mauve shade, Hotel Particulier. A coat of Vernis in Love in Paris en Rôse on top of any manicure is the easiest way to bring sparkle to your outfit and make it holiday party perfect. Lastly, I personally took a cue from Lisa Eldridge on this one and went for a bright pink shade of the new L’Absolu Rouge in Rose Lancôme to really make this holiday makeup look pop. Together or separately, there is so much to love in this festive collection.

Whether you’re wearing it or gifting it this year, the Paris en Rôse collection will brighten the season with holiday perfect looks to paint the town in pink, so may your makeup be merry and bright!

<![CDATA[Lifeproof - Make Your Makeup Survive the Heat!]]>

August has arrived and in Paris we are riding this heat wave with as much grace as we can muster, which is not much to be honest. As the temperature rises, Parisian’s chic points are dropping dramatically. We seem to be dressing to survive the heat, with all but complete disregard for style. Not to mention our makeup! To say heat and humidity just don’t sit well with makeup is not a figure of speech. Really…they make it slide right off your face!

But I, mes amis, am determined not to let this heat defeat my chic. I must keep it together no matter what the temperature is, but I’m going to need help. Enter Lancôme’s new Lifeproof collection. I decided to put this collection to the test on Tuesday to see if it’s all it claims to be — life proof primers and fixers to keep your makeup matte and in place all through the day. I called on my friend Phillip for the day to help me snap these pics and by 10AM when he showed up, the thermostat had already hit ninety degrees. “Are you ready? You’re not wearing any makeup” Phillip remarks. Yes silly, that is the point “because you have to photograph me putting it on” I remind him.

For starters, I begin with the Lifeproof primers. While you could go with just one, I like the idea of both. First, the Prep & Matte Primer for my forehead and chin where I want my skin to be hydrated without looking shiny, and to remain matte all day. Then, on my cheeks where I like my skin to look dewy and illuminated, I use the Prep & Hydrate Primer. For one last step before my foundation, the Teint Idole Ultra Wear Blur & Go Priming Stick is perfect for my nose and the surrounding skin in general where my pores are far more visible than I would like. Now my skin is primed and prepped, hydrated and mattified, and ready for foundation.

After my foundation there are a few finishing Lifeproof touches to lock things down for the day. Today’s challenge is to remain shine free from morning to evening without retouching, and the Long Time No Shine Loose Setting Powder will work to absorb that oil throughout the day. But not only! It also smooths skin and has a weightless feel. One last thing before we’re out the door, the Fix It Forget It Setting Spray. Sweat proof and weather proof, it’s antioxidant rich and hydrating, and feels super refreshing right before heading out the door into the heat for the day. “Do you want to bring the makeup with you?” asks Philip. “No” I declare. “Not even for the pics?” he rebuts. “No silly, that is the point. No touch ups.” And we’re off.

After a bit of shopping it’s noon and time for a check. “How’s my makeup?” “Still matte” I’m assured. Another hour walking the sun drenched sidewalks we find not one, but three of our restaurant picks closed (this is Paris in August) before settling on a bistrot. After our salads, I check in again. “Still shine free?” I ask. “Actually, yeah. That’s pretty incredible.” Even the boys are impressed. Phillip himself could use a bit of Long Time No Shine about now. We decided to really put my Lifeproof makeup through the test with a post lunch game of Ping Pong in the park before we realized it was already 5PM. Times flies when you’re overheating. Before Phillip headed off, I had to ask one more time “Still shine free?”…”Yes, chérie.” "Great, then you’ll have to take a photo to prove it." Which we did, as matte as I was in the morning. Lifeproof, approved!

<![CDATA[Home & Away — Jumbo & Travel Size Necessities]]>

The seasons are changing…or at least they should be! Believe it or not we had more snow here just last week. But despite what the thermostat reads, the calendar says that spring is upon us and some blooms have even sprung up! Warmer weather will soon bring us out from hibernating at home, and start whisking us away for travel season! Spring breaks and summer vacations are headed our way.

Paris Rendezvous

And while I, for one, will be happy to embark on a few getaways soon, it’s not always easy to leave behind the comforts of home, mainly my enormous arsenal of beauty products always at my fingertips morning and night. I like to keep my cabinet well stocked, and so jumbo sizes of my favorite products assure that my supplies will well outlast the season itself. Honestly, with these generous jumbo sizes I might have been able to get away with not leaving the house all winter! Just kidding.

But now that I am leaving home in Paris for some long weekends and other fun trips in and around France, I’d like to travel light with my cosmetics, and Lancôme’s home and away jumbo promotion has got us covered. For every jumbo sized purchased, they’ll send you the travel size too, for free! Isn’t that convenient? More space in the suitcase for cute outfits I say. Or, bringing back some souvenirs. Just use the code JUMBO at checkout. Here’s what I’ll be adding to my cart as my home and away essentials…

Bi-Facil Face — One of my beauty essentials and also the perfect companion for traveling. As both a makeup remover and a refreshing cleanser, it’s a sort of two in one product that allows you to consolidate for traveling. The oil phase dissolves makeup, while the micellar water phase cleanses and removes excess residue, leaving skin feeling instantly cleansed and refreshed…just what you need when you get home from a stressful day of work or away when you turn in after a long day of traveling!

Tonique Confort — I love this silky-soft moisturizing toner. It immediately rehydrates and gently purifies skin. The instantly soothing formula made with Honey and Sweet Almond Extract gives skin a soft, fresh, clean and incredibly comfortable feeling. It’s great for traveling too as it combines both a toner and a moisturizer, and really moisturizes skin after it has been dehydrated in transit on in those planes, trains, and automobiles!

Now that you know what to order and pack, the only question that remains is where will you go? Bon voyage!

<![CDATA[Skin Feels Good — Let Your Skin Breathe]]>

I knew this would happen…as soon I would board my flight to California, the promise of snow would come to Paris. It’s been years since we’ve seen the city blanketed in white. Five to be exact. And just as I predicted, as my plane pierced through the clouds that have been covering us since the start of the year, snowflakes began falling on the French capital, blanketing it in white.

Paris Rendezvous

I rarely feel the need to escape my beautiful adopted city, but this winter was wearing me thin. The only thing I wanted more than to see the snow in Paris was to see the coastline…the sun… the California sunsets I grew up with. I was craving to peel off the layers that had been keeping me warm across the world, shedding them slowly as I headed west with the sun. Arriving to Southern California was certainly a consolation for missing the snow days — my compass now pointing towards the beach, one of the first places I always go.

Something about being there is so rejuvenating, like a breath of fresh air for the mind, body, soul..and my skin. The sea air blows and the sun shines down, and barefoot in the sand I close my eyes and raise my face to catch both, taking in a deep breath with it all. It’s a simple and majestic pleasure that is quintessential to California, to me, bringing me back to the simple things, the laid back vibes I grew up with…

My makeup tends to follow suit here by the ocean. I love for my skin to breath, to let its own radiance shine through and feel the warmth of the sun. So in my suitcase I packed Lancôme’s new Skin Feels Good hydrating skin tint. It gives me that California glow infused with skin-loving ingredients like hyaluronic acid to lock-in moisture, and moringa seed extract to revitalize. If you’re a fan of B.B. and C.C. Creams you’ll have to try this…

Skin Feels Good provides a sheer tint of color for the “no-makeup makeup” look, perfect for California’s casual style. With 11 super breathable and adaptable shades, its coverage is buildable to even skin tone and minimize pores without clouding over your skin’s natural texture and beauty. Plus, with SPF 23 protection its the perfect alternative to foundation for sunny California days, protecting from UV rays just enough to let you soak up a few to amplify your healthy glow. I’ll be taking a bit of that Vitamin D with me back to Paris in a week or two, along with my Skin Feels Good. Now that I think of it, it might just be the perfect foundation for a day on the ski slopes where you’ll find me in a few weeks! I’ll be missing this beach breeze and the California sunshine by then for sure…

<![CDATA[Makeup Trends from Paris Fashion Week]]>

Here we are on the heels of another Paris Fashion Week and “fashion month” around the world. As usual in Paris during this time, it’s the ideal moment to scope out trends from the runway shows and on the the streets. I’ve been inspired all week to be fashion forward with my wardrobe and makeup choices to attend some fun events and spectacular parties with friends.

Paris Rendezvous

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, makeup really is one of the best accessories! A simple outfit can become a complete look totally transformed by a bold statement with your makeup. Here are a few of my favourite makeup trends of the moment so you can do just that. Don’t be shy either...any of them can be pulled off by pretty much anyone and are easily achieved in just a few minutes.

Ombre Lips — I’m totally taken with this trend since seeing Lancôme Creative Director, Lisa Eldridge, pull it off. All you need is two corresponding lip colors. The first trick here is to stick with similar hues but different shades, one darker for the outer and one lighter for the center. The second trick is to keep similar finishes, i.e. both matte or glossy but it’s up to you. I went for a darker shade of the Color Design Matte Lip Crayon (Only Wine Will Tell) and L’Absolu Rouge Definition with its demi-matte finish in a lighter shade but still in the warm reds family. Start with the Lip Crayon on the outer edges and then fill in the middle with your lighter shade. Simply blend with your finger or a lip brush and the effect is ultra full looking lips with amazing definition.

Graphic Eyes — Nothing made me feel more confident to try this trend than having the Grandiôse Liner in hand. The ergonomic bendable wand and ultra fine tip make it nearly impossible to go wrong when creating this look. My best advice is just go for it and be creative. A double or even triple wing is the most wearable graphic eye look and easiest to create. But sketch away because Lancôme has shown us with #bendtheline there are no limits to what you can create with the control of this liner.

Extra Bold Brows — Bold brows have been in for some time now, thanks to a few top models rocking them on the runway in recent years. This look is more accessible and in than ever thanks to brow products like Sourcils Styler. The Sourcils Styler is specifically designed to color the hair and not skin (like a pencil per say) so you get dense brows that look naturally full and wispy. Extra bold brows are the perfect way to transform jeans and a white tee shirt into a total “model off duty” look.

<![CDATA[Wedding Season: French Beauty and Fashion Tips for Brides and Guests]]>

The only thing that could possibly make me love summer more than I already do is the fact that it is also wedding season. Who doesn’t love a beautiful wedding? There seems to be so many things to celebrate on these days, like love of course! But also friendship, family, and a great excuse to dress up and look your best.

Paris Rendezvous

I seem to be in that time of my life when all my friends have started tying the knot. Last weekend I was overwhelmed with joy getting to see two of them get hitched at a chateau in the French countryside during what must have been the most beautiful weather France has seen in 2016. I had been looking forward to this day for nearly a year, but my schedule afforded much less time to plan the perfect outfit, hair, and makeup.

As you can imagine, weddings anywhere, but particularly in France, are extremely sophisticated. The dress code for French weddings is “effortless, chic, and qualitative.” Personally, I’m going to add in conservative, as I think it’s safe to err on the side of caution, as most traditional weddings here take place in a church. I managed to pull off my whole look last minute with a few Parisian style tips I’ve learned over the years. For one, a silk scarf around the neck always adds drama to any outfit, and a bold lipstick instantly transforms an otherwise boring face into a perfectly coordinated look. Throw on a piece of statement jewellery with your best heels and any little black dress or in my case, raspberry separates, and you will look ready for the pages of French Vogue.

As you can imagine, I have a few beauty tips in mind for such days as well! Here are some of my wedding beauty essentials for brides and guests alike...

My Wedding Beauty Essentials

Waterproof mascara — Weddings always give us a good cry. On such a big day, waterproof mascara is essential for brides and guests alike to avoid makeup running down their face. Hypnôse Waterproof mascara is just what you need to get dramatic photo worthylashes that last through tears of joy during sacred vows and heartfelt toasts.

Matte lipstick — Not only is matte lipstick on trend at the moment, but it also happens to be one of the longest lasting formulas for lips. My favorite this wedding season has been Color Design in Racy, a creamy dark pink just bold enough to stand out but with a touch of softness perfect for the romance of a wedding.

Teint Idole Ultra Longwear Foundation Stick — For an event like a wedding, the Teint Idole Foundation Stick is your complexion’s best friend. The long wear formula will have you looking flawless for hours on end, and also conveniently fits in even the tiniest of handbags for touch ups during the festivities if needed. Made for long days like these, where you need it, when you need it.

A special scent — Scent is the strongest sense tied to memory which is why brides will often select a new scent just for their special day. Guests like me will be sentimental about these beautiful celebrations share with friends, and what better scent than La Vie Est Belle to bring back those moments?

Vive les mariés!

<![CDATA[My Holiday Gifting Guide: Beauty for Every Woman on Your List]]>

December 1st popped up on the calendar last week and had me saying “where has the year gone?!" Time flies when la vie est belle and here we are at the holidays once again, enjoying the magic of the season before bidding adieu to 2016. On the 1st of December, two things happen in my little Parisian life. First, my holiday decorations come out of the cabinet and go up around the house, along with my tiny tree! There is no space in a small Paris apartment like mine for a big tree, but that doesn’t make mine any less special to me.

Paris Rendezvous

The second thing is I start to get my Christmas list in order. I am sure many of you are doing the same. So in the spirit of giving, I thought I would share some of my own Lancôme holiday gift ideas with you here. There’s plenty of time to pick the perfect presents from Lancôme.com and have them arrive in time. For the women in your life, the gift of beauty is thoughtful and caring, a chance to stock someone up on their usual favourites or the time to entice them to try something new. Remember, when women feel beautiful, that positive energy reflects into every part of our lives...

A Custom Engraved Fragrance — I loved the release of the custom engraved fragrances from Lancôme this year. This extra little touch makes Lancôme fragrances that much more special. A thoughtful phrase or initials can be engraved on many of the bottles and really make the perfectly personalized Christmas present for anyone that is extra special to you.

Énergie de Vie — This skincare range was another new release on Lancôme.com that I really loved this year. Perfect for women in their 20’s and 30’s (like me!), it’s all about energizing and protecting skin in this busy time of life. That’s why I think it’s the perfect gift for mothers to gift to daughters this holiday season as they are out making their own way in the world one day at a time.

Absolue L'Extrait Ultimate Eye Patch — For moms or any woman in your life especially deserving of being spoiled a bit, I think any product in the Absolue skincare range is the ultimate indulgence. For something fun though, I recommend the new Ultimate Eye Patches. These little eye masks smooth, plump, and brighten eyes for a little pampering.

Génifique Youth Activating Second Skin Mask — Along the same lines, this amazing Génifique mask does wonders for refreshing your skin. It’s the perfect gift for your best girlfriend, with whom you share all your beauty secrets, when she’s in need of a little home spa treatment.

Makeup Holiday Gift Sets — These pre-bundled makeup sets from Lancôme this year are adorable and affordable. The Juicy Tubes are the perfect present for a fun friend, or Le Stylo set with a range of colors for your favorite fashionista. And for any woman, you can’t go wrong with any of the lash and liner sets...they’re such a classic.

Need more ideas or have something specific in mind? Lancôme put together an adorable gift guide to help you find the perfect gift for every woman on your list. Go ahead ahead and have a look and you might get through your list sooner than you thought...

<![CDATA[Holiday Color Collection — My Christmas Wish]]>

Something has been missing these last few winters in Paris. The one thing we all seem to wish for at the holidays, other than some nice presents under the tree of course. Snow that is, for a beautiful Christmas of white. And so you can imagine my excitement when I was taken by surprise the other night. Cozied up at home, I looked out the window and behold, it was snowing — beautiful huge white snowflakes gracefully floating down all over the city. Phones lit up like candles across town to capture the moment, and we all crossed our fingers that the snow would stick and in the morning we would wakeup to a wonderland of white. But alas it just wasn’t cold enough for our snow to stay, and before we could enjoy it in the light of day, what had fallen had melted, and with it our excitement.

Paris Rendezvous

But snow or not, Paris is hardly disappointing at the holidays. The lights have gone up in every quartier. It was only just October when I saw them raising the sparkling chandeliers on the chic Avenue Montaigne and the city has only gotten more glittering since! The trees are up at Place Vendôme, twinkling in every corner in front of the jewelry shops as if to say "come in and buy something sparkly for someone special this year."

But despite being too warm for the snow, it’s quite cold for a California girl like me. I find myself dashing back inside at first opportunity after braving the cold to take in the lights and search for the perfect gifts for my loved ones. As usual for the ladies in my life, Lancôme has made it easy with their glowing holiday collection this year, complete with shimmering versatile highlighters, bold eyeshadows, bright and gourmet lip shades alike, and elegant eyeliners — all in glittering packages to spread that sparkle of Paris at the holidays. Wether you’re gifting or wearing it to the many holidays parties I’m sure you’ve been invited too, this is the perfect collection to complement the season.

And until I make it out to some of those parties myself, you’ll find me at home, decorating for the holidays, more recently with my little winter wonderland à la Lancôme. Here both my Christmas wishes have already come true, Lancôme’s beautiful holiday collection to call my own and little part of Paris covered in snow. For now that is all the magic I need…

<![CDATA[Bardot & Birkin: Becoming these iconic French beauties]]>

Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin — surely you’ve heard these household names! While Bardot is a born and bred Parisian and Birkin an anglo transplant from London, the two alike have embodied that certain je ne sais quoi it takes to achieve French icon status. On screen and in real life they personified the French free spirit of the sixties and seventies. They owned their sexuality, honed a carefree bohemian style, and embraced their natural assets as well as their flaws when it came to beauty.

Discovered at the age of just sixteen, the soon to be blonde Bardot made a name for herself as a model in Paris before achieving international super stardom with her breakout role in And God Created Woman. Birkin was a budding star in London, but when she when came to Paris to audition for the 1969 film Slogan, it would be the beginning of the affair that would define her and her new life in France. Individually the two became the most adored and provocative stars of the time in France, and still in the hearts and eyes of the young and old fans alike here today.

In real life and on screen their lives often intertwined. They appeared in the steamy film Don Juan together in 1973, and both were lovers and muses of French singer and ladies man, Serge Gainsbourg. His hugely successful song Je t’aime was originally written for Bardot during their brief affair. But when it was released two years later, the female part was sung by Jane Birkin, who had since started up a relationship with Gainsbourg. Because of this, the two have often been considered rivals, but both stars denied the competition over the years, eventually becoming great friends.

Paris Rendezvous

Black and white photographs of the two together enjoying summers in Saint Tropez remind us why they’re still great icons of French fashion and beauty. Their look is timeless. And since you’re never too old to play dress up, my best friend Audrey invited me over to try our hand at recreating our favourite looks from these two icons of France.

Lancôme’s new Le Duo Stick was perfect for contouring and highlighting areas of the face to mimic the shape of the stars, like their gravity defying cheek bones. On Audrey we recreated Birkin’s doe eyes, and on me, Bardot’s heavy charcoal look she loved in the 70s. It was great fun to see our transformation. If only for an afternoon, we felt like the stars whose beauty and fashion has been inspiring us for years!

<![CDATA[Treat yourself! — Enjoying Lancôme’s New Rose Sugar Scrub & Rose Jelly Mask]]>

Treat yourself! — Enjoying Lancôme’s New Rose Sugar Scrub & Rose Jelly Mask Oooo la la how the seasons have changed! Summer skipped out on us over a weekend, and autumn swept in with a rainstorm over Paris on the first day of the season to make sure we all got the memo. I thought I was ready for the change. I got my work lined up, my wardrobe in shape, and even some new makeup in my drawer to try out. But my skin just didn’t seem to get the memo and is holding on to its summer tan like it’s going out of style, and truth be told…it is!

I enjoyed absorbing a few rays over summer, responsibly of course, under the supervision of a moderate SPF always on duty during the day. But even catching just a bit of color, I realize I may have paid the price with a tad more damage than I’d like to wear around at the moment. And as for the tan, it was cute all summer long with sundresses and swimsuits, but now that the sun has gone, it’s looking uneven and a bit rough. I think it’s time to see both on their way out with summer so a good scrub and skin luxuriating has been in order.

Come la rentrée, I always like to try new products too! There are new things in store and my curiosity and changing needs get the best of my shopping cart. I’ve been keen to try the new Lancôme Exfoliating Rose Sugar Scrub, if only for how delicious it sounds! But my new face regimen with it has been a lot more than a sweet experience. The last week it’s been washing away impurities and dead skin with it’s exfoliating sugar grains, and plumping my complexion with its nourishing rose water and honey.

When for whatever reason you want to hit reset button on your complexion, exfoliation is so important as the first step. Not only does getting rid of all the bad stuff and leave you with cleaner and smoother skin, but it also makes it ready to deeply absorb all the good stuff you put on it next, like the new Rose Jelly Overnight Mask. After a sweet clean with the scrub, this overnight mask is like a big tall drink of water for your face. It’s hydrating gel works to lock in moisture with the super ingredient hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, why is why this mask leave your skin ultra plump, smooth, and soft.

So, if you want to treat yourself and do something nice for yourself this week, you could treat yourself to some roses. But I say at fifty-five dollars for the pair, the Rose Sugar Scrub and Rose Jelly Mask are just as good of a deal. Plus they’ll last you way more than a week, unlike those flowers, not to mention leave you looking gorgeous. So far me and my skin are loving them both! I think you will too.

<![CDATA[Eye Did It! 3 Instant Beauty Updates in a Flash]]>

I’m probably busier right now in my life than I’ve ever been. It seems to be a sign that you’ve reached your late twenties. Maybe someday I’ll have kids to add to that equation and know what busy really means. Even now though, between work, friends, the search for love, and all of the other things I want to achieve, time is of the essence and always going too fast.

Paris Rendezvous

But this week, I was reminded by Lancôme’s little #EyeDidIt campaign that being busy doesn’t mean that beauty has to take a back seat. In fact, it might just be our ultimate sidekick and the solution is right before our eyes with a few products that are likely already in our makeup drawers.

Don’t believe me? Watch and learn…

Dilemma ➝ Morning Rush

Idea ➝ Pump up your brow!

Solution ➝ Les Sourcils Definis + Définicils

I confess, I’m not a morning person. So for me makeup in the AM has to be easy or it’s simply not gonna happen. The quickest way to get ready and out the door is to pump up my look with brows and lashes. Les Sourcils Definis has an ultra fine pencil to give your brows a naturally full look, while its handy brush whips them right into perfect formation. Defining brows keeps the face looking neat, rested, and alert. The next step is lashes. I always give mine a nice bend with Lancôme’s Le Curler to really open my eyes, and never hesitate to reach for my Definicils Mascara that’s been a beauty favourite of mine for over ten years. It’s the perfect mascara for dark defined lashes without being too bold for daytime. Voilà two products and five minutes flat and I’m out the door ready to face the day.

Dilemma ➝ Love Emergency

Idea ➝ Turn up your liner!

Solution ➝ Artliner + Grandiôse

For a last minute date, makeup is no excuse to be late! When cupid calls I turn up my look... with a bit of liquid liner. I think a classic cat eye is a fast and fool proof date look that is equal parts sophisticated and sexy. Artliner’s super sharp sponge brush makes it easy to get the perfect wings on the first try every time when there’s no time to lose. And to feel extra flirty in a flash, I’m ready to bat those lashes with Grandiôse mascara. Gorgeous lashes are easier than ever with this swan neck wand that make maneuvering a thing of the past. Corner-to-corner, root-to-tip it gives the ultimate in length, lift and volume.

Dilemma ➝ Party Calling

Idea ➝ Trigger the smokey!

Solution ➝ Auda[city] in Paris + Hypnôse Drama

It’s not too common that I get an invitation for a big night out on the town, so when I do I like to go all out with my makeup. But that doesn’t mean it has to take a long time. The perfect smokey all is almost instant with the Audacity palette and a little bit of blending. For added drama, I reach for Hypnôse Drama mascara for ultra feathery lashes that amplify my eyes all night long.

See how easy it is to switch up your look in a flash with a few beauty basics? #EyeDidIt and you can too!

<![CDATA[Spring Color Collection — Too Sweet to Eat!]]>

Each year in Paris there are little signs that spring will be coming soon. Like at the beginning of February when I start finding birdies making their way up my stairwell — a slight wrong turn as they search for places to begin building their nests. I have to tell them this spot is taken and suggest they would much prefer a place with a view of the park, at least. That’s usually where they end up, perched somewhere near the corner. I know this because in about a month or so I will hear them singing there again for the first time in months.

Paris Rendezvous

And the other sign that winter will be on its way out in no time? The arrival each year of the Lancôme spring collection. I always look forward to it showing up in the mail! Every year it seems even more flirty, even more sweet, and even more fun, just like spring’s arrival after a long hard winter. This year though, Lancôme has really outdone themselves delivering a collection more darling than ever.

Lancôme has given us lots of way to play with violet in our makeup this year to add a bit of vibrance to our look. And here in winter I say, why wait? Consider some of my favorites and how to wear them…

The theme is sugary sweet, but it’s too sweet to eat! The pièce de résistance is Le Teint Macaron, a box of blending sponges and cream blushes in the shape of French macarons. Isn’t that cute? The other star of the collection is the Les Toppings Eyeshadow Palette — a bright and colorful set of shadows to be mixed and matched like toppings on your ice cream, although these are for your eyes to create unlimited delicious looks. It is definitely a must-have for the season, complete with a mirror and double sided brush for everything you need, packaged in a playful pattern. If you’re a fan of creamy shadows for your eyes, the new Ombre Hynôse Mini Chubby comes in four fresh pastels — a yellow called Bleached Flour, a green called Fresh Mint, a purple called Crispy Lavender, and a pink called Milky Pink. And if there’s one thing other than the return of beautiful pastels spring brings to mind, it’s flowers! I can’t wait to see Paris in bloom again, and I also can’t wait to try Lancôme’s new Jelly Flower Lip Tint for spring! It encapsulates real flowers to give your lips a bright finish and subtle rosiness which is perfect to complement the colorful eye looks from the collection.

I couldn’t wait for spring to start planning looks with the new collection, I simply had to give all the beautiful colors a try. So when the sun finally came out for an hour or so last week I sat in the park down the street and played with some of the new products, the same place those little birdies will be singing again soon. For both of us, spring really can’t come soon enough!

<![CDATA[Summer Bliss Collection: Somewhere in Paris, It’s Always Summertime]]>

There’s a place in Paris where it’s always summertime. Lucky for me it’s never too far from home. Just a stone’s throw across the Seine and a quick stroll leads me to the southwest corner of the Jardin des Plantes. Here, inside a beautiful greenhouse dating back to the end of the Belle Époque, is our little local tropical paradise.

Paris Rendezvous

One step inside and I feel completely transported to another place. The light from above shines through the leaves of the thousands of trees, illuminating a fine mist floating through the air. Most people don’t know such a quiet and magical place even exists in the French capital. In normal conditions, this garden would never survive a Paris winter. But this little jungle can be visited all year round, protected by a delicate ecosystem sustaining the exotic equatorial plants in its warm and humid atmosphere, as well as the dedicated team of botanists and expert gardeners you can see tending to them all day long. Instantly, even on those rainy and cold days, visiting this place manages to warm my soul and make me dream of far off places.

I was instantly reminded of it the other day when I received the Lancôme summer color collection, Summer Bliss. It seems to have the same effect on me. It’s actually the first collection to be created by our Lancôme Global Creative Director, Lisa Eldridge! The Color Design 6 Pan Palette was inspired by the Amazon jungle, and has got me planning some summer travels of my own imagining all the places I can wear this new palette. The Belle de Teint compact is perfect for giving a light sun-kissed look on the face and body until I can catch a few rays and get that real summer glow. In summer, the creamy and blendable Ombre Hypnôse Stylo in new shades of purple, olive, and bronze will be the perfect no fuss eyeshadows for a shimmery finish. Pair them with the new waterproof version of Grandîose mascara and the new lighter version of La Vie Est Belle Eu de Toilette, and you’re all set for summer!

The season might have to wait a bit longer, but I couldn’t resist already trying out one of these new looks for my little escape to Les Grandes Serres of the Jardin des Plantes. Wearing this beautiful new collection to this magical warm place, I certainly found my summer bliss…

<![CDATA[Parisian Inspiration: Lancôme’s Fall Color Collection by Caroline de Maigret]]>

Here in Paris, the weather is already softly falling into autumn. There’s a gentler light in the day, and cooler nights after sundown. So I see no reason to wait any longer to share Lancôme’s Fall Color Collection with you…

Paris Rendezvous

This year Lancôme has collaborated with their Parisian muse, Caroline de Maigret, to create a collection that epitomizes effortless chic. If you don’t know about Caroline, you should. She is the definition of parisienne, so much so she even wrote the book on being one: How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are. Caroline’s beauty and style have earned her the unofficial title of international “it girl”, while her wit and humor have made her a bestselling author and widely adored personality. She is a regular street style fixture at Paris Fashion Week, and a symbol of the quirky and natural beauty French women embrace. So it’s only natural that Lancôme would call upon Caroline to create their fall collection!

The creamy textures and warm colors of Caroline’s collection blend together effortlessly for easy to create, soft looks that flatter any complexion. The colors are inspired by everyday items in the life of this Parisienne, like her morning coffee, her favorite leather bag, or evening glass of wine. A new Color Design eyeshadow palette in Mon Regard Parisian is perfectly complimented by an exciting new color of Grandiôse mascara in a bronzed bordeaux shade. The rest is about simple beauty, with new subtle shades of L’Absolu Rouge and Blush Subtil Duo in soft roses and nudes. Best of all the collection is playful and fool proof, made to mix and match, re-purposing your favorite blush as a shadow, a shadow as a brow filler, and so on. It’s beautiful. It’s soft. It’s versatile. It’s effortless!

And what was Caroline’s motivation behind the collection? To create the incontournables de Parisienne, or the makeup must haves of a Parisian. Tried and tested by yours truly here in Paris, this gorgeous collection will certainly be among my beauty essentials this season…

<![CDATA[What a Girl Wants: Camila Coelho X L’Absolu Rouge]]>

Is it ever too soon to start thinking about holiday gifting? Better sooner than later for me as I’m always full of ideas for gifting at first. But, as time runs out it seems so do my ideas for perfect holiday presents! Before they escape me though, I thought I would start writing some down to share with you here over the next couple weeks leading up to Christmas.

Paris Rendezvous

Now, I still can’t tell you what to get the men in your life that already have everything, but if there’s one thing I do know it’s what the cool girls want. I’m not saying I am a so called cool girl myself, but I sure do know and follow a lot. In particular, beauty guru - Camila Coelho, whose ultra adorable Lancôme collaboration is everything us girls need and want right now!

The Camila Coelho x L’Absolu Rouge collection are perfect pops of color in ultra cute packaging to add a little pep to any lady’s look. The special edition red packaging makes it the perfect holiday lippy for gifting. But inside is a cute little surprise too. The bullet itself is shaped into a pretty little pout to make whoever has it on hand smile every time she takes it out for a touch up.

I’ve been enjoying all of my own Camila Coelho x L’Absolu Rouge lipsticks This autumn, Last Minute, a creamy and warm neutral, has been my favorite shade. But come holiday party time I am sure any lady will be happy to receive some of the bolder shades to go with her party dress, like Tropical Pink or Coral de Janeiro. The colorful shades Camila developed in the Lancôme labs inspired by Camila’s home country of Brazil will bring just the warm vibes we need to warm up our looks in winter! Not to mention, they contain that same moisture-boosting Pro-XylaneTM that prevents dryness and imparts high color payoff. All the more reason to give them for your girls to love all winter long.

So, if you’re looking for the perfect stocking stuffer or glamorous gift for the cool girls in your life don’t wait to grab a few shades of Camila Coelho x L’Absolu Rouge. And if you really want to spoil us (or yourself!) this holiday have a browse of the Lancôme Gift Setsto start making your way through your Christmas list!

<![CDATA[Bonjour Bi-Facil Face! + Makeup Removal Tips]]>

One of the only things I like more than putting my makeup on every morning is taking it off each night! In my line of work, I play with cosmetics and makeup quite a bit, so at the end of the day there’s a lot to get through. It feels good to go back to a blank canvas and hit the hay with a squeaky clean face, but some mornings I wake up to see my pillow case wearing some of yesterday’s makeup and realize I really could have done a better job — or rather my makeup remover could have!

Paris Rendezvous

Enter the new Bi-Facil Face! Yes that’s right, the bestselling eye makeup remover from Lancôme has now been re-imagined in a formula for the full face, coupled with the power of Micellar water which I fell in love with when I moved to France. The two come together to form an ultra effective makeup remover and cleanser, with two phases to make sure your face is left fresh and squeaky clean when you’re ready to take off your makeup.

The formula is ultra gentle yet ultra effective, dissolving even the most stubborn makeup. So why is it important to have a gentle and effective makeup remover? By now you should know, the skin on your face is precious. The more efficient your remover is the less tugging and rubbing required — au revoir excess cotton balls — and a gentle formula is always kind to sensitive skin, leaving a kiss of refreshment for a nice clean finish.

The new Bi-Facil Face is definitely a new beauty essential for many of us out there. If you’re a beauty junky and makeup lover like me who is always playing with makeup, you can’t go wrong having this in your cleansing arsenal. Similarly, it’s also an amazing option for makeup artists who I often work with on shoots, changing models' makeup many times a day. It’s efficient yet gentle, and with its cleansing properties, kind and calming for the camera complexion. And lastly, anyone that loves long wear makeup, like matte lipsticks, waterproof mascaras, or long wear foundations… Teint Idole Ultra 24H I’m looking at you!

Read to try Bi-Facil Face? I’ll leave you with a few tips for makeup removal from myself and Lisa Eldridge that can always come in handy…

Makeup Removal Tips

• The soak off method is great for tough eye makeup and matte long wear lipsticks. Instead of rubbing, let your cotton disks sit on your eyelids or lips for a minute to really soak off makeup, then remove the rest gently.
• Before shaking your Bi-Facil Face, apply some to a cotton pad for eye makeup. This will allow you to use just the oil phase for a first pass to efficiently remove eye makeup.
• Don’t forget your hairline, under your chin, and around your ears. These are all important where we often have makeup but neglect to cleanse well enough.
• Not all cotton balls / pads are created equal! Invest in your face and get the nicest, softest, variety available to you. You can even get organic ones now! They’re less abrasive for your skin, require less product, and actually remove makeup better.

<![CDATA[Share the Light — Paris Shines Brighter for a Very Special Event]]>

A few weeks ago the City of Light shined a little bit brighter as Lancôme lit up the Palais de Tokyo in Paris for a very special event. The occasion? La Vie Est Belle L’Éclat…the radiant new eau de parfum from Lancôme.

Paris Rendezvous

La Vie Est Belle is the fragrance of happiness, and this new L’Éclat edition is an invitation to cherish that joie de vivre and share the light. It’s sensual and fresh scent of orange blossom filled the air as we made our way up the red carpet. Lights danced off the multifaceted L’Éclat bottles decorating the room, casting a sparkle across the crowd and illuminating the many smiling faces that came out to celebrate this night with Lancôme. Seeing as everyone was all smiles, the ultra glamorous photo booth for the night was put to good use. Unlike anything I’ve ever seen, the round mirrored mini ballroom, complete with a chandelier and lights show, captured snapshots of friends as a souvenir of this dazzling night.

Later on, near the bar with champagne in hand we mingled and danced to the sound of Parisian songstress, L’Impératrice, and her band’s live show as Lancôme’s makeup artists bestowed glittery makeup looks on many guests keen to partake and up the glam factor of their ensemble for the night. At the end of the evening, we made our way to balcony to take in the view. Almost as if you could reach out and touch it, the Eiffel Tower just across the river sparkled as its spot light turned shining outward across Paris and beyond. I wondered from just how far away these lights of Paris could be seen. I can’t know for sure but I do know that with La Vie Est Belle L’Éclat on this night they reached a little further

We each parted the celebration with a very special gift from Lancôme, our very own custom engraved bottle of L’Éclat to call our own. In the spirit of sharing the light of happiness, I thought what a perfect gift this would make this upcoming holiday season — a fresh, sophisticated, and radiant perfume to shine a light on the special women in your life. Its precious bottle and delicate scent will enchant anyone lucky enough to receive it, a joy to give and receive. With the holidays still a few weeks away it’s the perfect time to order with a custom complimentary engraving of your choice, so say yes to sharing the light and remember that with Lancôme, life is beautiful!

<![CDATA[My Absolute Best Skin]]>

By the second week of January it seems many of us forget about our New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve certainly done that. This year though, I promised to push myself harder. In 2018 I’ll turn thirty which makes me determined to have my best year yet starting with one very ambitious resolution — to achieve my absolute best skin.

Paris Rendezvous

Many people won’t like to hear this, but when it comes to having great skin, genetics have set the ground rules for us. The rest is earned. While we all wish one magic cream could elevate us to perfection, the reality is that if great skin isn’t “god given” then it is achieved only through serious commitment.

I’ll attest to this firsthand because I’m someone that’s struggled with bad skin since the 7th grade and frankly by the end of last year I was finally fed up. So, I got a head start for 2018 mid November by kicking off my absolute best skin challenge, committing fully to a skincare routine and taking charge of my lifestyle. At New Year’s I was joined by friends of friends for dinner, one of which happened to be a dermatologist. We started talking skincare and she looked across at me and proclaimed “You have great skin!” I couldn’t believe it, I’ve made it.

The truth is my new journey with my skin has reminded me of a lot of important lessons in life. At twenty-nine still coping with acne while noticing my first wrinkles made me want to scream “Not fair!”. But part of growing up is accepting life isn’t fair. I’m predisposed to such things and acknowledging that was actually the first step in the right direction. I might have to work twice as hard as the next woman to achieve great skin but that’s okay. Things worth having in life are far more rewarding when you’ve worked hard for them, great skin included. The last is that we cannot change who we are to be some kind of perfect, but we can decide to be the absolute best version of ourselves. That is the goal I think we should strive for with beauty and that I set for my skin. It will never be perfect, but here, well into my absolute best skin resolution, I’m proud to put my best face forward for 2018!

Here are some more lessons I’ve learned on my journey that I hope will inspire you…

Take responsibility — While genetics may play a huge part, acknowledge bad habits and what you can be doing better by your skin.

Educate yourself — One woman’s routine may not work for another. Research products and ingredients for problems you may have and talk to professionals at the cosmetics counter and your dermatologist.

Be committed — Some products show results immediately, but if not don’t be discouraged. Real results are achieved over time, and two weeks to a month is when I really start seeing product payoff.

Exercise — Running has dramatically helped my complexion. Better circulation means more even skin tone. It also helps manage stress, leading to better sleep, both of which do wonders for your skin.

Stay optimistic — A lot of our skin issues are hormonal, so naturally despite best efforts there may be frustrating times. An upward climb isn’t always a straight line and that’s okay. Stick with it.

Holistic Health — Great skin involves so many factors. The most important is skincare, but diet, sleep, water intake, stress, and more all play parts. You have to work with them all.

<![CDATA[Énergie de Vie: Today's Fatigue, Tomorrow's Aging]]>

I was walking home the other night across Paris thinking how remarkably empty the streets are this time of year. Nearly silent in fact. I passed the small newsstand down the road from my place. The headline of the Figaro Magazine read “En août, on se repose”. In English this means that in August, we rest.

Paris Rendezvous

Indeed, August is a sacred time in France. Most Parisians head out of town to rest and recharge, for all or at least some of the month. Many shops and restaurants close, and what remains practically slows to a halt. Emails hardly come in at the office and away messages are abundant.

Americans might find it hard to believe that an entire city more or less shuts down for the greater part of a month each summer. But in France, this is just part of life. I admire this work-life balance the French seek to maintain. Being ambitious in a world capital can really take it out of you, most of all, in our late twenties and thirties when the modern woman strives to have it all — a career, love, family, adventure. All this effort can make us thrive, but it’s our skin that usually suffers. Lancôme’s Énergie de Vie skincare is for just this sort of woman. Young women, like me in fact, running full speed at all our dreams from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed.

I had the pleasure of discovering the collection in conversation with Lancôme’s lead chemist several months back. Her words really spoke to me — the thought put into how each product feels immediately on a woman’s skin, the integrity of the ingredients and their benefit to changing complexions, and the moments they serve us most in our busy lives. As I listened to her talk about its three main antioxidant plant extracts, I tested each product and was astounded by their silky effects. The collection covers all of a woman’s skincare needs around my age...

A cleanser to detox and purify, removing makeup and dead skin.
Antioxidant liquid moisturizer to refresh, protect, and hydrate.
Lightweight day cream to energize and invigorate, infused with water and lemon balm.
An invigorating lotion for when skin needs that extra boost.
The night mask to recover and restore with vitamin E and goji berry extract

Personally, I feel like this is the best Lancôme skincare yet for women of my age in their twenties and thirties. Today’s fatigue can be tomorrow’s aging, and these products are light in weight and scent, formulated to reveal a dewy complexion for today and many tomorrows.

Énergie de Vie means energy of life, a reinvigoration for the face we put forward to the world, and in return touching the mind, body, and soul a bit too. This is the French essence of rest and balance we focus on this time of year, and Énergie de Vie is the skincare collection to bring that to our complexion each and every day. August or not, it has now become my skin’s daily source of energy from the outside in.

<![CDATA[A Rose By Any Other Name — The Perfect Last Minute Mother’s Day Gift]]>

When your mom is on the other side of the world from you, you have to be a little bit more organized when it comes to gifting for Mother’s Day. I’ve gotten slightly better at it over the years being far away from my own mom, her in California and me in Paris. But you know how adulthood goes…we’re all busy. Those important holidays to show our loved ones we care can sneak up fast. I mean, can you believe the year is nearly half way through already? Some of you may have not have even realized that Mother’s Day is this upcoming Sunday!

Paris Rendezvous

Fear not though, because there are always last minute gifting ideas. If you weren’t organized enough to line up a custom engraved fragrance, there are still plenty of ways to show thanks to the woman who raised you. My go to is flowers. What mom wouldn’t be happy to receive a beautiful bouquet of roses? While the temporal nature of a fresh gift is part of what makes us enjoy them so much while they last, it is always sad when those beautiful bouquets wilt and end up in the trash the following week. So this year I had a better idea, a new way to spoil moms with flowers if you will… Absolue Precious Cells.

These products are a supreme union of science and luxury that are sensorial and aesthetically beautiful thanks to their use of rose, which also happens to be the symbol of Lancôme. My perfect pairing for moms this year is the Rose Drop Night Skin Peel Concentrate and the Revitalizing Rose Lotion Toner.

For night time, Absolue Precious Cells Rose Drop Night Peeling Concentrate is a bi-phase night skin peel concentrate. The rosy exfoliating phase is enriched with fruit acids and exfoliating ingredients. The golden oil phase is a concentrated blend of precious rose extracts, including Rose Essential Oil. Blended together, this formula will leave mom’s skin looking smoother and clearer. It also helps stimulate skin cell renewal, soothes newly exfoliated skin and nourishes it with moisture.

Then for day, Absolue Precious Cells Revitalizing Rose Lotion Toner has been developed with a precious blend of rose extracts, infused in a fresh, comforting gel formula. After cleansing, mom can use this toner for skin that looks visibly plumper and revitalized with radiance, primed to help receive the benefits of her entire skincare routine.

Either or both are really the ultimate treat for mom’s complexion, and in beautiful pink, gold, and glass packaging, she’ll feel spoiled with these true treasures. And best of all, this last minute gift to order online or pick up at your nearest Lancôme counter will last far longer than a bouquet of roses. So go ahead and tell her you got her some flowers for Mother’s Day…I think she’ll be delighted when she receives either of these rose infused gifts instead!

<![CDATA[Party in Paris: Night Out on the Left Bank]]>

“Are you going to the Lancôme x Sonia Rykiel party?” This was the question buzzing about Paris last week as fashion week returned to town for another Haute Couture season. What a perfect time to throw a party for Lancôme’s soon to be released makeup collection with the famous French fashion house, Sonia Rykiel. And lucky me! I’m not always on the list for such fabulous things, but with my invite in hand I had been looking forward to this extravaganza since I caught wind of it!

Paris Rendezvous

It’s only natural that the party took place on the Left Bank. The venue was the spectacular École des Beaux-Arts in the 6th arrondissement, the more than 350 year old college of fine arts that has trained some of the most famous artists of all time. This Saint-Germain district is also the fashionable home of the Sonia Rykiel brand, with their beautiful flagship store perfectly positioned on the boulevard Saint Germain. The party took inspiration from both the store and the neighbourhood with a recreation of the Café de Flore as the “Café des Fleurs”, the bouquinistes that line the Seine selling old books and trinkets, and the shelves and racks of the Sonia Rykiel store as cabinets lining the bar filled with vintage pieces from the brand. The nightculminated with a diva showdown on stage and an epic dance floor as It’s Raining Men played and confetti covered the crowd. What a blast!

But my favorite thing about attending events during fashion week is the people watching. The chance to see so many stylish individuals congregate in one place is a fashion feast. Everywhere you look there is beauty and outfit inspiration. I would expect no less from a Sonia Rykiel and Lancôme party. Everyone was dressed to impress, even the hostesses! Their ultra voluminous hair created by Kérastase and topped of with berets was a throwback to some of my favourite looks from the Rykiel runway in years past. Bright cheeks, doe eyes, and bold lips were the perfect compliment to the tee shirts they donned featuring the same illustrations as the collection.

It was a Parisian party definitely worth sharing, but also the perfect excuse to share with you all here a sneak peek of the Sonia Rykiel collaboration before it launches. I’ve been told by my friends at Lancôme that the coveted collection is going to move fast, so get ready to snatch it up and make it yours as soon as it becomes available. Keep following Paris Rendez-Vous this month to be the first to know when it’s released! I can’t wait to show you the actual makeup next week...this party is just the beginning!

<![CDATA[Be My Valentine — Fragrance Gift Sets Filled With Love]]>

It’s mid-February and the day of love is fast approaching! This year I haven’t forgotten because I happen to be really looking forward to it - not that I’ve ever really dreaded the day. Single or not, all my best Valentine’s memories are with my family back in California — flower and balloon deliveries from dad, baking heart shaped cookies with my mom, making Valentine’s dinner for our parents with my sister. I miss that now being away from them each Valentine’s Day, even when I live in the most romantic city in the world — Paris. But this year, for the first time in a while, I have a very special Valentine of the romantic kind. Since love is always in the air here, I’m sure it will be easy for us to come up with some way to celebrate Valentine’s together.

Paris Rendezvous

That being said, I still never forget my friends and family on Valentine’s Day. For many women though, it’s easy to get caught up in the feeling that this day is for couples only. I’ve been there a few times myself, and sweet surprise messages and unexpected little gifts from my girlfriends cheered me up and reminded me that this day is for everyone, love in all its shapes and forms. That’s why even though I’m not single this year, I’m still going to make my Valentine’s Day as much about my friends as ever.

As usual, Lancôme makes it easy to say I love you, I adore you, I appreciate you... whatever it is you’re wishing to tell the women in your life on this upcoming February 14th. Five perfectly packaged limited edition gift sets, featuring different scents and some beauty favourites, are not only the perfect Valentines for the ladies on your list, but they are also at a great value. I know exactly who I’ll give this Trésor Midnight Rose set to, complete with the mischievously feminine Trésor Midnight Rose perfume and body lotion and the glamorous Hypnôse Drama Mascara.

Call it commercial but I really do love Valentine’s Day. What a lucky girl I am to be surrounded by so much love this year and I can’t wait to show friends, family, and my very own sweetheart how grateful I am for them next week!

<![CDATA[24 Hour Wear — Teint Idole Ultra Long Wear Takes Paris Around the Clock]]>

There are two things I look forward to in the morning. The first is my coffee, usually at home and fresh from my French press. The second is doing my makeup. Rush me through either of these and the day will be off to a bad start. But with proper time for each, I’m ready to take on any big day. Right now as winter wears thin, the daylight hours grow longer and with them so do my days, those kind where you pop out to do one or two things and end up spending the whole day and night out. Aren’t those the best?

Paris Rendezvous

On those days, I need my makeup to stay put. No foundation touch ups, just a fresh flawless complexion to face wherever the day and night take me. Lancôme’s Teint Idole Ultra 24H Long Wear Foundation gives me comfortable full coverage without feeling thick or greasy, and works with my skin’s PH level for transfer-resistant coverage and a retouch-free day. Now available in forty different shades, it was impossible for me to not find my perfect match. Lastly, complete with SPF 15, it not only gives me not only the look I want, but also the protection I need all day long.

Which got me thinking, what would you do with 24 hour wear? With my foundation on my face and off my mind, there’s no stopping me now. Here’s my perfect day in Paris to fill those perfect twenty-four hours of wear...

8 AM.... A slow morning at home with coffee, the news, and my makeup routine with TIU 24H.
10AM.... Head out for the day in search of inspiration at my favourite Musée d’Orsay.
12 PM.... Cross the river for a nice walk through the Tuileries gardens and find myself on the rue Faubourg Saint Honoré to browse my favourite shops or see what’s new at the Lancôme boutique.
2 PM.... Indulge in a late and luxurious lunch at the Hotel Costes on their beautiful terrace bathed in light, complete with dessert and a café allongé.
4 PM.... The golden hour means the perfect light for photography. With my foundation still going strong, I can even snap some photos of myself to share here on the blog.
6 PM.... Happy hour and the perfect time to rendezvous with friends for a glass of wine at one of my favourite wine bars near Palais-Royal.
8 PM.... Catch the latest movie on our list with my boyfriend at the cinema near Opéra.
10 PM.... A late diner en amoureux in the 9ème arrondissement at La Buvette complete with French tapas and more wines.
12 PM.... Gather friends for drinks and dancing, starting at my new favourite bar, Le Fou, and onward to wherever the night takes me. After all, I’ve still got eight more hours of wear. But chances are, I’ll turn in long before my foundation does! ]]> <![CDATA[Winter is Here— Look Ready with Crescendo!]]>

Even though the temperatures are dropping it seems like the last days of the year are quickly melting off the calendar. Those that are left are filling up with all the fun of the holidays, our calendars marked with Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and more that are fast approaching. But with those dropping temperatures comes a few other signs of the season, for me dull and dry skin most of all.

Paris Rendezvous

The changing of the seasons always proves to be a tough time for our complexions, and if you're like me, along with holiday gifts I’m left searching for new ways to keep my skin looking beautiful despite the seasonal circumstances. I was chatting about just that with my friends at Lancôme last week when they suggested winter is the perfect time for Visionnaire Crescendo — the innovative and easy dual-phase peel that reveals more beautiful and vibrant skin. There’s a few reasons that Crescendo is perfect to use this time of year and here’s why…

Seasonal Transitioning — When seasons change and along with them your environment (sun exposure, moisture in the air, pollution, etc) your skin can struggle to catch up. Naturally your skin will work to find the right balance, but Crescendo steps in like like a personal trainer to boost its natural ability to renew itself, leading to a better cell turn over and more youthful radiant looking skin. Just the little coup de main (helping hand) your skin needs at the moment!

Less Sun Exposure — Peels and especially gentle progressive ones like Crescendo have so many benefits for your skin. One of the only downsides however is that they do temporarily increase your skin’s sensibility to sun. That’s why the perfect time do the Crescendo 28 day challenge is winter, when the days are short and the sun is at its weakest. If you are still exposed to winter sun, you can always use it in combination with Visionnaire Advanced applied each morning which will give you SPF20 protection.

Boosts the Benefits of Your Moisturising Routine — Skin dries out in winter because colder temperatures freeze all of the moisture out of the air that your skin would otherwise be absorbing. It’s so important to maintain skin’s moisture during winter because dryness leads to compromised barrier function that can cause redness, breakouts, and fine lines. As Crescendo progressively helps peel away the superficial and dead skin cells at the surface, it increases your skin’s ability to absorb all the goodness of the creams and serums we’re applying generously this time of year. That means not only do you reap the benefits of Crescendo, but Crescendo also helps you to get the best results from your moisturising routine.

Want to know more about how Crescendo works to make your skin look more youthful, even, and refined? Then be sure to visit my article on the science of Crescendo. Then, grab one of your own and mark your calendars for Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the 28 nights of the Visionnaire Crescendo Dual-Phase Peel. By the end of the year your skin will be gorgeous and glowing in time for 2018!

<![CDATA[Honoring International Women’s Day]]>

Lancôme and I believe that every day should be a celebration of women, and as part of the beauty industry, every day is. Each day we’re inspired by all the ways women are beautiful, working to bring them the highest quality cosmetics across the globe and remind them that they are and deserve to be beautiful.

From the classroom to the boardroom, from homemakers to thrill seekers, there is no limit to what women can be and the ways they inspire us. Today in particular is an extra special day to celebrate the Lancôme woman and all the women of the world: International Women’s Day.

In France this annual celebration has officially been a tradition for nearly 60 years, as a day to bring attention to issues women still confront in certain parts of the world, as well as be grateful to the women and men who worked to achieve equality for women throughout the last century. Lastly, it is of course a day to give thanks to the special women in our own lives.

For each of us, there are certain women that have been paramount in our lives. For me, that’s my own mother, Jermaine. (You might notice I look just like she did at my age.) I collect and keep all the vintage and retro portraits we have of her so she is close even when we are far apart, she in California and I in France. In addition to her long blonde locks and dark brows, she’s also given me unconditional love and encouragement that I can be and achieve whatever I want. There are so many women that inspire me though, playing important roles in ways big and small throughout my life, and today I am celebrating them too.

Lancôme and I wanted to find a unique way to honor women on this special day, and what better way to do so than with the gift of beauty. In stores, Lancôme has created a special-event look with a fresh palette featuring L’Absolu Rouge lip color in “Misty Rose” and a hint of blush. In addition, Lancôme will be gifting roses to visitors, the feminine symbol of the house for more than 40 years now. I too wanted to take part in the giving, so I bought a dozen roses to offer to a handful of the women I’m thankful for today. We hope you will join us in this annual celebration in honor of women around the world…

<![CDATA[80 Years: A Lifetime of Lancôme]]>

This year Lancôme celebrates its 80th anniversary. Can you imagine the lifetime of stories they could tell from eight decades of excellence in their field? Stories of chemists constantly at the forefront of science and innovation in skincare.

Stories of creatives continually on the cusp of trends and style. The story of a man named Armand Petitjean who began with a fragrance and a dream to make happiness synonymous with beauty in the French way, and ended up creating an empire. Those are all great stories, but to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Lancôme I’ve chosen to tell you a different one.

Like many great stories, it begins with lipstick. Three lipsticks in fact that showed up in the mail last week addressed to me. I took out the shades of L’Absolu Rouge created for Lancôme’s 80th anniversary in coral, red, and pink. I tried them on and thought about this very assignment, wondering “What’s in a lipstick?”.

You see, over the years beauty has become my business too. Day in and day out I write, photograph, and film the world in and around these products we use everyday as women and why. Some might say that’s superficial. That makeup and skincare are only about what’s on the surface. That beauty is an industry just skin deep. I disagree.

Paris Rendezvous

Because in a lipstick, a serum, a fragrance, I see the hundreds of millions of women that have worn Lancôme through the last 80 years. Like a young girl who smiled at the odds and left home to start a new life in Paris and chase her dream of becoming a photographer and writer. Or of Oscar wining actresses with blushing cheeks and tears of joy before the world as they accepted the highest honor in their field. Or the stories of the millions of women who have fallen in love in a Lancôme fragrance. Or the millions of lipstick kisses mothers have planted on the cheeks of their family to let them know they’re loved. I see the millions of women who between starting and ending their day with Lancôme, have shaped the past, present, and future to be a better place. They are the architects of their own happiness, the women who choose to put their best face forward each day as they make the world go round.

These are my stories and they are yours. We as women are the incredible life of Lancôme each day for the past 80 years, and that is something worth celebrating. Life is beautiful with Lancôme, let’s continue to make it an incredible one for many years to come...

<![CDATA[How to Elevate Your New Year’s Eve Look!]]>

New Year’s Eve is the ultimate annual excuse to dress up, don’t you think? Bring out the sparkle, the glitter, the fireworks! This year I’m entertaining friends from out of town and I wanted to show them the most glitzy side of Paris. The kind where champagne arrives with sparklers, no one is shocked if someone decides to dance on the table to live cabaret music, and when the clock strikes midnight to ring in 2019, we know we’re just getting started. A little extravagance never hurt anyone! In fact, I think I just might make that my motto for the coming year. And of course, I’ll need the perfect makeup to match!

Paris Rendezvous

A bold makeup look is the perfect way to elevate any outfit for an occasion. When I want to go all out with my look I instantly think of eyes. For night time and the New Year I dare to wear all the darkest shades I might otherwise shy away from. The Starlight Sparkle Eyeshadow Palette from Lancôme’s holiday collection has been serving me well all season to create eye popping party looks, like this one!

I’m inspired by all things night time and Paris for my New Year’s Eve look. I wanted to capture the beautiful blues and black of the Parisian night sky. I used the black matte shadow in my new favorite palette to create a smokey almond shape. Then blended in a bit of colour with the various blue tones in the palette on the lid and under eye. Up until this point, I like to leave the inner eye area bare to finish off the look with the lightest and most glitter shade in the palette, in this case a sparkly silver that really opens the eyes by applying it in the inner corners of the eyes.

To make the look extra bold (which I did of course!) I lined my waterline with black art liner pencil to deepen the look, and coated my lashes with heavy dose of Monsieur Big Waterproof to be sure it will last all night! The result is an ultra sultry and festive look perfect for New Year’s Eye, reminiscent of the moment the Eiffel Tower will sparkle at midnight as it always does, for the first time in 2019! Wishing you all a very extravagant New Year’s Eve and a happy new year!

<![CDATA[NEW YORK RENDEZ-VOUS: Jason Wu for Lancome]]>

Just as I was ready to settle into my new routine for la rentrée, New York Fashion Week kicked off and swept me back to the states for work. As much as I love Paris, this occasion to jet off to the big apple twice a year is always exciting!

Paris Rendez-vous

For a few seasons now, I’ve worked backstage at fashion week in New York as well as Paris, photographing and filming for designers and the press. As glamorous as I know it is sitting front row at the shows, I love being behind the scenes. The transformative process of the makeup, hair, and wardrobe is so creatively inspiring. The energy backstage is palpable, as each of these teams dance around one another to bring these elements together, and with it a designer’s vision to life. Each time I’m reminded of how beauty is as much a part of fashion as clothing is.

When Lancôme invited me to come see their team of makeup artists in action at the Jason Wu show this season, I knew it would be the highlight of my trip. Wu’s elegant and fresh esthetic has an international appeal, and pairs perfectly with the french beauty sensibility of less is more.

The look for the show was all about flawless dewy skin, warm neutrals, and ultra high cheek bones. Modernly feminine, it was the perfect pairing for Wu’s sophisticated silhouettes in sage, navy, and amber he showed off on the catwalk. Fittingly, Jason Wu brought a bit of the runway to his Jason Wu for Lancôme collection, working in this same gorgeous color palette. If you want to wear the look from the Jason Wu runway yourself, I picked up a few tips from the artists backstage to share with you here!


Visionnaire and La Base Pro Hydra Glow helped achieved a perfectly prepped complexion for foundation.

The Blush Subtil Palette gave a contoured look for dramatic cheek bones, with its illuminating blush and highlighter.

Aquatique eyecolour base in “noisette” was the perfect choice for eyes, smokey and ultra soft at the same time, and water resistant to last for all day wear.

Color Design lipstick in ‘Pink Slip’ looks like a naturally perfect pink lip, perfect for everyday wear.


In case you’ve ever wondered, the French manicure is indeed actually French. Tracing back to Paris in the 1930s, its traditional nude or beige base with a white tip became popular in the United States in the 1970s. Fast forward to today though, and it seems less Saint Tropez, and more Jersey Shore. Thus a French manicure isn’t usually my first choice, but last week that all changed.

Paris Rendez-vous

Mid Fashion Week, a day off to get my nails done with my sister was just what the doctor ordered. I heard Paintbox in Soho was the place for a high fashion manicure, a bright idea to infuse a bit of glam into my otherwise down played work wardrobe (juggling cameras backstage and running about town between shows isn’t conducive to dressing up this week). Once inside, Paintbox felt more like a boutique or chic restaurant. With an iced coffee (on the house!) in hand, we browsed the menu of looks to find the French manicure reinvented in the studio’s FW14 collection.

I wanted to use my new Amethyste Brune vernis from Lancôme’s fall color collection, and Paintbox’s founder Eleanor Langston, a former beauty editor, told me how to complete the look…

“There are a dozen ways to modernize a French manicure. When you say, ‘French manicure’ many people think of thick lines and acrylic nails. But adding a chic swipe of metallic at the tips, like Lancôme’s Golden Riviera, is one of our most popular manicure looks.”


• Use colors that contrast for the look to stand out.
• For short nails, keep a square shape. For longer nails, try a round silhouette.
• Keep the tip thin and dainty.

Feeling a bit more bold? Add a half moon to your French mani like my sister did with Lancôme’s Beige Dentelle.

Et voilà! The French manicure is chic and French again. So we did as the French would do and popped into the newly imported Ladurée down the street to show off our manicures and enjoy some fine pâtisseries. The perfect Parisian afternoon for any New York lady without even needing your passport!

<![CDATA[Sonia Rykiel x Lancôme: A Limited Edition Collection]]>

Oo la la! I’ve had this launch marked on my calendar for months now, and I couldn’t be happier to finally be able to talk about (and wear!) the new Sonia Rykiel x Lancôme collection. As if I wasn’t already excited enough, the launch party last week just added to my enthusiasm. What happens when two iconic French brands collide?

Paris Rendezvous

Well, every year Lancôme collaborates with a fashion brand, and this year it just happens to be one of my all time favorites. I’ve adored Sonia Rykiel for about long as I’ve been wearing Lancôme makeup, which is before I even had a driver’s license. I turned twenty-eight a few weeks ago so if you do the math that’s about a decade and a half. But Sonia Rykiel has been around much longer than that.

For me, the fashion designer defined a style all about capturing the playful side of French fashion. She has always made clothes that are comfortable and practical, yet extremely fashion-forward through her bold color choices, loud stripes, and oversized accessories. Moreover, Sonia Rykiel showed that chic can be fun and flirtatious too

For this collaboration, Julie de Libran, the now creative director of Sonia Rykiel, asked the famous French Graffiti artist, André, to sketch the art for the packaging. For me, this is an ode to some of the landmark moments in the history of the Sonia Rykiel line. You may not know but Sonia Rykiel was the first designer to put words on clothing. But what’s inside is just as good as what’s outside.

What I’ve always loved about Sonia’s clothes is that they are versatile. The wearability of the makeup in this collection is simultaneously about creating a subtle beauty look to compliment a bold outfit and making a statement with your makeup on its own.

For example, La Palette and Parisian Lips Le Crayon in Parisian Spirit are perfectly paired. The soft pink tones create a sweet and subtle look for daytime that goes perfectly with the glossy tinted end of the double sided lip crayon. For night, switch it up by using the opaque side of the pencil for bolder lips, and building up your eyeshadow with the purple tones for a sultry night look. These two have got to be my favorites from the collection, but if you’re looking for cooler tones you’ll love the blues in the Saint Germain version of the eye palette, named after for the home of the Sonia Rykiel brand. It pairs perfectly with the orangish red French Baiser lip crayon, but the idea is to mix and match and create your look as playfully as you please

Even the Cushion Blush offers buildable color for a soft Sorbet Rose cheek or a bright Splash Coral. And for the perfect beauty accessory, a few Left Bank inspired nail colors, new as well with the launch of the collection, like Joie de Vivre and Café Blanc.

The Sonia Rykiel x Lancôme collection officially launches July 21st and will move fast, so if you want to make this fashionable makeup collection your own, be sure to scoop it up then

<![CDATA[Visionnaire Nuit: Make the Most of Every Night]]>

As part of the industry for a few years now, I’m what has come to be referred to as a “beauty junkie”. The French emphasis on skincare especially has my nose in every article about anti-aging, and my fingers dipping into more than my fair share of products to see what they’re all about.

Paris Rendezvous

Even though I’m in my mid twenties, I’ve done the research and know it’s never too early to think about your skin’s future. Time will only fool you for so long! In fact, there are a dozens of ways we sabotage our skin in our twenties. The stress of starting a career, being to busy to eat right, not drinking enough water, exposing ourselves to second hand smoke, and of course those nights out. Sometimes I’m tucked in before the stroke of midnight for my eight hours of sleep. Often times, I’m not.

If those late Paris nights that turn into early mornings leave me with a few wrinkles to remember them by, I’m okay with that. They’re some of my best memories with my friends and my city. The beauty in aging is that no matter what, the experience of a wonderful life is something we will end up wearing. To do so gracefully though requires taking care of our skin through it all.

Whether you’ve had eight hours of peaceful slumber, or just a bit of shut eye before getting up again, the new Visionnaire Nuit makes the most out of your beauty sleep. Over the past year, Visionnaire has been part of my morning skincare routine. Before my makeup I apply it and can immediately see and feel how it smooths fine lines and overall texture. Over time, it makes my pores smaller, evens my skin tone, and gives my skin a buoyant and rested quality. With the introduction of Visionnaire Nuit, my skin perfecting routine now works around the clock with the new Lancôme night moisturizer. Its amazing gel-to-oil texture goes on incredibly smooth with an instant calming effect, and wears well through the night while working its magic. For me personally, I love that its unique formula has all the benefits of a night cream without their typical heavy and greasy feel. My skin likes it too, as its non-comedogenic and light formula means that my pores, which at my age are still sometimes prone to breakouts, don’t get clogged and bogged down with too much oil.

Whether I was in bed early or stayed out late, I always wake up to a moisturized, resilient, and radiant complexion. With Visionnaire Nuit I make the most of every night and so does my skin…

<![CDATA[Happy National Lipstick Day! —A Gift For You!]]>

This Sunday is National Lipstick Day, which might seem like a big thing to celebrate something so small. But lipstick is pretty incredible for something so tiny, don’t you think? It can completely change an outfit in a matter of seconds. It can attract attention and to switch up your attitude. It can make a statement without saying anything, bring out your best features, and so much more. It just might be the superpower every woman already has at her fingertips!

Paris Rendezvous

The French woman knows this. To her, lipstick is paramount! It is the piece de resistance, the only thing left in her beauty bag should she be forced to abandon the rest. It’s her secret weapon, her pick-me-up, her magic wand. More often than not, it’s her signature red, but she finds more than one way to wear it.

For a more subtle color and a sultry pout, shell dab her fingers on it and smudge it on her lips. She’ll even take what’s left after and blend it on her cheeks! It’s a little thing I’ve noticed a lot of French woman love to do. For the full effect of course she’ll go straight for the direct application, no matter where she finds herself! A café mirror, a shop window, with her cellphone as on the metro…the act in itself of applying lipstick is almost a performance art for the French woman.

And while one is enough to do the trick, can anyone really ever have too much lipstick? Well, I don’t think so. Personally I could, and sometimes do, spend an hour or two just trying out different colors. I like to experiment and switch it up, but I know many of us have our favorite shade. While the classic red rouge might be the first you always reach for like the French girls, no matter what color your most comfortable with there are still lots of ways to switch it up!

You could go the classic, like L'Absolu Rouge, to accentuate shape and hydrate your lips, while giving full coverage that lasts all day. If you want an even more luxurious finish and feel, you can reach for L’Absolu Velours for a velvety matte finish and that same intense color you like to achieve. You might find you like liquid lipstick as much as I do, in which case you have to try Lancôme’s Matte Shakers if you haven’t already. The sponge applicator is so easy and soft to apply, and the color finishes matte but wears comfortable without every drying out your lips! Those are just a few a my favorites. But however you like to apply and achieve your color, look, feel, and finish, Lancôme has so many lipstick choices for you! Glassy, glossy, matte, silky, creamy, you name it!

But as if we didn’t have enough reasons to love lipstick this National Lipstick Day, Lancôme is giving us one more! With any purchase of $49 or more, you’ll receive three shades of Color Design as a glamorous gift with purchase. So if you’ve been waiting to place an order for your favorite Lancôme products here online, Sunday would be the perfect time to take advantage of this awesome offer, because like I said…can we ever have too much lipstick? Definitely not.

<![CDATA[Festival Fun Makeup — Summer with Monsieur Big Color Lash Topcoat & L’Asbolu Lacquer]]>

There’s so much to look forward to in summer. Great weather, park days, fun trips, and of course, music festivals! We have a few favorites in France that take place anywhere from the parks of Paris to the beaches of Corsica. Summer festivals are the perfect spot to reveal your wild side and there is no better or easier way to do so than with your makeup. One of the best ways to have fun with it is to embrace ultra bold color, even in places you would least expect it…like your eyelashes! A tie-dye inspired eye is the ultimate homage to pioneers of festival style from years past (think the Grateful Dead!) with a modern twist.

Paris Rendezvous

You can achieve this wild look with the new Monsieur Big Color Lash Topcoat. This color concentrated mascara topcoat gives instant color impact to your lashes. The formula catches natural light too for a colorful and luminous shine, and is bright and buildable across your lashes. Start with a coat of original or waterproof Monsieur Big mascara. Then, you’ll need all four colors of Monsieur Big Color Lash Topcoat in gold, green, blue, and pink to create a full spectrum tie-dye eye look. Simply alternate them throughout your top and bottom lashes until you’ve achieved enough color to really stand out in the crowd!

But why keep the color to your lashes when you can turn up the volume on your makeup with bold lips to match? For serious color, shine, and super long wear L’Absolu Lip Lacquer is an excellent companion for any festival goer looking to hold on to loud color well into hours of singing along to their favorite artists. This buildable high shine long-wear lip gloss even hydrates your lips too so you can have awesome color while looking after your lips. No chapped lips ruining a good time here!

For my summer festival look I’m trying out a fun but slightly subtler version of the tie-dye eye with two shades of Monsieur Big Color Lash Topcoat in Flirty Pink and Glamorous Gold. The result were lashes that fit my personal festival style…flirty, glamorous and fun! To match I went with the same colors on my lips with L’Asbolu Lacquer in Ultra-Rose and Go For Gold, starting with the pink, and then using the gold to accentuate the cupid’s bow. It’s a nice way to add a bit of metallic for an almost psychedelic effect.

Now it’s your turn to try. Don’t be shy, go ahead and mix and match these two new hits from Lancôme to customize your festival look like I did and wow the crowd. Who knows, your makeup might totally steal the show!

<![CDATA[Day Trip to Giverny: Discovering Monet’s Garden & Lancôme’s Matte to Measure Collection]]>

For this week’s rendezvous I thought I would take you all along on one of the dreamiest day trips from Paris to the home of Claude Monet. The Parisian born artist once said that his greatest masterpiece was his garden in Giverny. He must have loved it very much considering that today; a single one of his paintings can sell for up to ninety million dollars.

Paris Rendezvous

On this little trip, I discovered a garden as lovingly looked after as ever. It was incredible to see the iconic scenes I know so well from his oil paintings coming to life before my own eyes. Dwelling the rows of flowers in front of the house, you can see the colorful blooms that speckle the landscapes of his paintings. Passing over the bridges of his pond, you’ll find his precious waterlilies floating on the surface. Around the premises, weeping willows blow in the wind making the light and shadows dance around this magic place, furthering the sensation that it is brimming with life.

Surrounded by Monet’s garden, one can’t help but see how the artist was completely overcome by the inspiration that he cultivated and immersed himself in here. As an impressionist, he was a master of light and color, and this garden was his greatest muse. His commitment of capturing its nuances during his many years in Giverny eventually built one of the greatest collections of paintings from any one artist, many of which you can find right here still on the walls of Monet’s home.

I was so happy to finally make it Giverny to see the garden transitioning from summer to fall. And speaking of other great color collections this season, I just received Lancôme’s new Matte to Measure selection. Twenty-seven matte shades in lipsticks, lip stains, and lip pencils means you can find the perfect matte lip look for you. I wore my favorite to Giverny, L'Absolu Rouge Velours in “De Petale”, an ode to Monet’s floral inspirations. I’m sure you too will find the perfect color in the new collection to inspire you…

<![CDATA[The Absolue Difference — A Little Luxury, A Golden Glow]]>

There is something about silk that just connotes absolute luxury. A certain magic to its touch. In fact, silk pillow cases are one of the best gifts I have ever given myself. No more linens tangling my hair and tugging on my delicate skin at night. But in more ways than one, silkiness and beauty just seem to go hand in hand. The softness, the shine, it’s something we all want for our hair and skin. And if silk is the absolute luxury, then Lancôme’s Absolue Precious Cells Silky Cream is the pinnacle of pampering for your skin.

Paris Rendezvous

Absolue was originally developed and introduced in 1965 by the founder of Lancôme himself, Armand Petitjean, as the perfect union of science and luxury for your skin. It has since grown into a range of products all designed to reveal your skin’s golden glow. In each one, Lancôme’s patented age-defying molecule Pro-Xylane™ is married with the revitalising power of one of nature’s most beautiful gifts — the rose. Each precious drop of this essential rose oil contains 150 rose petals, bringing to your skin the moisturising and revitalising properties of the rose in a potent elixir. Its for this very reason, combined with its beauty and scent, that the rose has long been the symbol of Lancôme.

From the first time I used my new silky cream recently, I could tell it was on the next level. It has the ultimate smoothing effect, gliding on effortlessly with a softness between my face and fingertips I had never felt in a cream. It was like wrapping my skin in a silk sheet that protects, nourishes, and reveals my skin’s own silky and luminous qualities. This is what we call the Absolue Difference. This silky rose experience is fast becoming my ultimate little luxury for my face. Here’s why I think every woman should have some of the Absolue golden bottles on her vanity to reach for now and then…

• Anti-Aging — The properties of the Absolue range are all about preventing and repairing age damage. Fine lines and wrinkles seems to melt away with this luxurious cream, and skin is left feeling plumped and smoothed.

• Stress Soothing— When your lifestyle gets your skin down, the Absolue products are the ultimate soothing experience. The range offers a sensory experience: a rose aroma that envelops you with a calming scent and energy, a silky sensation for the touch, and results the eyes can see. Absolue is the ultimate antidote for stress.

• Little Luxury — One of the things I have loved absorbing from the French is the concept of little luxuries. It’s okay to indulge a little, it’s okay to spoil yourself now and then. I think our beauty routine is the perfect opportunity in life to do that. Absolue Precious Cells Silky Cream doesn’t have to take the place of your regular moisturiser or night cream. How about making it something special you reach for each Sunday evening before bed, or when you’ve had an extra stressful day with work or your kids? Treasuring the opportunity to do something extra lovely for yourself does wonders for the soul while Absolue absolutely spoils your skin.

<![CDATA[Summer Swing: Festival Fit Makeup for Your Summer Style]]>

We are in full preview mode of summer already in Paris. Temperatures topped the charts last week and the sun is out in full swing. We’re all feeling pretty lucky here to be blessed with this weather, and reminded that the carefree days of spring are here and summer soon be upon us. That also means festival season! In Paris and all over Europe there are amazing festivals to attend with fantastic lineups from now until August. I know stateside many have already kicked off too.

Paris Rendezvous

Festival season is the time to get back outdoors and enjoy a good gig. It’s a great excuse to let that fringe fly, to reveal some wild style, to be playful and not take ourselves too seriously, and to rock some bold makeup of course. Break out the color, the metallics and more. Lancôme’s bright and warm summer collection is the perfect lineup for your makeup this festival season.

Start off with getting the summer glow with one of the amazing Belle de Teint Mosaic Palettes. With terracotta, pinks, and bronzes its gives you a summer perfect glow that looks sun kissed and energized. Just give your brush blush a swirl around the palette and use it for contouring and bringing color to your cheeks.

Le Métallique Liquid Eyeshadow will get you ready to dive into a metallic summer. My favorite is the beautiful Bronze Rivage rosy gold shade, but Brise Azure is the perfect bright turquoise to really make a bold statement with your makeup. They’re also the perfect makeup companion to throw in your bag and reapply easily anywhere you may find yourself. With the easy to use wand and a bit of blending with your finger there’s so many looks you can create, not mention they wear comfortably for hours on end so you can be footloose and fancy-free festival style! Up your eye makeup even more by accentuating those the shadows with Le Stylo Waterproof in new shades of Reflet Cobalt and Tempo Mediterranean.

And don’t forget your finger tips! Super shimmery blues and bronzes of Vernis in Love are the perfect way to complete any festival ensemble. Whether you find yourself at festivals or the beach this summer, this collection has the perfect vibe for your plans and your look to get into the summer swing…

<![CDATA[Rendez-vous With My Very Own Valentine]]>

Valentine was my very first parisienne friend. This is a very distinct moment in my life because I remember how nervous I was for our first rendez-vous. Somewhere after exchanging some emails and following one another’s adventures between our blogs, Hello It’s Valentine and Making Magique, I ended up making her a hat.

I have been known to do a DIY from time-to-time, but this was a very special hat—a straw boater I found and adorned with one-of-a-kind satin ribbon—that I had been hanging onto for something special. Valentine was to come pick it up on her way to the train station for her summer vacation in Provence, and I was to meet her at the entrance of the Metro. I knew it would be quick, but seeing as French was still a challenge for me, I practiced the words I would say over and over again in my head on the way there. When we both arrived I had totally forgotten them, but we got on so well those first five minutes, we decided to meet again in the near future. We have been dear friends ever since.


The things that struck me about Valentine on day one still stand out to me now. Despite the many different haircuts and outfits she has shared with us over the years, her petite but incredibly poised stature, her vibrant smile and her beautiful brown almond eyes perfectly framed with cat-eye liquid liner have always been there. While the first two are inherent, the latter she is very adamant about wearing each and every day. I have even been on photo shoots with her where makeup artists suggested something other than her beloved winged eyeliner, and she refused. I like a lady who knows what she likes and who she is, unafraid to say so politely. As a result, this perfectly formed cat eye has become her signature beauty look.

On this day over three years after our first rendez-vous, Valentine and I met for a bit of beauty talk. I thought I’d see if she would give something new a try after all, without straying too far from the look we love her in. I brought along Lancôme Liner Design in Purple Jewels and Indigo Darling, and just in case that was pushing my luck, Artliner 24H in several shades. We especially loved the liner in shimmering Copper, a striking complement to her amber eyes and a romantic look meant to last from day to night. Valentine noted the strongly pointed shape of Lancôme’s Artliner 24H brush, teaching me how essential it is to getting the perfect cat-eye shape. Would she wear this copper version of her romantic cat-eye look again? “Bien sûr!” said Valentine, for an evening out with her sweetheart this Valentine’s Day, which fittingly happens to be her namesake.

Turns out, trying something different was a hit with Valentine after all. Those really are the best kind of friends, the ones true to themselves while still surprising you after all these years…

<![CDATA[Maison Lancôme Minis — Scent Travels]]>

August is a quiet month for Paris as most of us head out for our annual vacations, myself included! I look forward to getting away at this time each summer for new adventures with friends. So along with most of the city’s residents, I packed my bag last week and headed out of town — south of course, to catch some sun, swim, and get reacquainted with nature.

Paris Rendezvous

With fragrance as the strongest sense tied to memory, it makes sense to bring a nice scent (no pun intended!) along with you on your travels. Perhaps a new one to commemorate a time to remember, or a favorite you wear everyday that you don’t like to be without. I try to pack light personally, and with budget airlines’ "carry-on only" bag policy size does matters when it comes to liquids at the airport

The great news is that just in time for my vacation, I got some new travel size options from Lancôme from one of the favorites ranges, Maison Lancôme. Lancôme has appointed some of the greatest contemporary perfumers to pay homage to Lancôme’s founder, Armand Petitjean, for this collection of fragrances. Each fragrance is crafted in the same manner that one composes a wine of the most superior grade (Grand cru), with a combination of varieties, origins, and extractions that are all specially selected according to precise criteria. If one could travel through scent then Maison Lancôme would be the place to begin. So, logically I wanted to bring some along with me on my travels.

Some of the travel size scents can already be found in the Maison Lancôme collection, Like Ôud Bouquet for one. It’s rich woody scent mixed with a touch of sweetness with its rose praline signature reminds me of the beautiful house my friends and I have been calling home on our vacation the last week. Others in the travel size are new additions, like Orange Brigades with bitter orange essence that reminds me of the summer citrus and Apérol Spritz we enjoyed each evening.

At home I love having my collection of beautiful gold engraved Maison Lancôme bottles displayed on the shelf in my bathroom. I admire them each day and enjoy their beauty as much as I do wearing them. I’m so happy that I can now take them with me in the convenient travel sizes, and be reminded of those amazing memories from summer travels when I’m at home and away!

<![CDATA[Awakening the Senses at The Lancôme Institute]]>

Every now and then I get so busy that I’m swept away by my work life and the hustle and bustle of my 20s here in Paris. At night I turn up exhausted and fall into bed, skipping my skincare routine entirely. In the morning it’s back to go-go-go, and for several days I feel there’s no time to relax and look after myself. My skin shows the first signs of such stress, but soon my mood follows. I struggle to find my center, my focus, my peace of mind. Since a vacation isn’t always feasible to remedy such a rut, the next best thing I know to snap me out of it is a visit to the spa.

Lancôme’s invitation to get acquainted with L’institut Lancôme (The Lancôme Institute) here in Paris came just in time. I was in one of those ruts and my skin was fed up with too little sleep and no tender loving care. It was about time I took some cues from French women, who seem to have mastered always making time for a bit of pampering, or soin as they say. By now I was in desperate need of it, and penciled in a few hours for a morning at the spa.

Paris Rendez-vous

At The Lancôme Institute, science meets the senses. The experience begins as you walk in the door. After a friendly greeting you’re led up the spiral staircase to decompress with a hot herbal tea before beginning your treatment, the first step on your journey to awakening the senses. The relaxing treatment rooms have a comforting cocoon-like feel, draped in cloth and illuminated by an ethereal glow of blues, pinks and lavenders coordinated to each step of your soothing session. I opted for a Rehydrating & Replenishing treatment, restoring the moisture and nutrients my skin had been deprived of, and smoothing the fine lines that appear when I’m too busy to stay hydrated throughout the day. I’m sure the Génifique and Génifique Yeux my therapist applied had something to do with that. After just an hour and a half, I felt rejuvenated, rested and ready to face the rest of the day. Conveniently, on my way out a makeup artist gave me a quick touch of makeup to complement my newly fresh face. Finally, after a light misting of my favorite La Vie Est Belle fragrance, I was ready to face the rest of the day in Paris.

Perhaps you’ll make a rendez-vous at one of Lancôme’s Institutes yourself. Everyone deserves a lovely little indulgence once in a while. Treat yourself — you earned it.

<![CDATA[Matte Shakers - Ban the Boring!]]>

Matte lips have been all the rage for a minute, and there are lots of reasons to love them, like ultra long-lasting wear and serious color payoff to name two of my personal favorites. But truth be told, while they look great they don’t always feel it. Dryness and discomfort seemed to be the main thing keeping some late adopters from trying this trend. But now there’s no more excuses!

Paris Rendezvous

Lancôme promised me a while back when I first caught wind of them that these new Matte Shakers were a total game changer for matte lips. Since they hit the shelves last year, I’ve been hooked on the Juicy Shakers with their ultra moisturizing effects and easy to use cushion applicator. Not to mention the fun shake shake shake to mix things up. The new Matte Shakers are all the fun and moisture of those first shakers, with amazing bold matte color effects.There’s so many reasons to love these new Lancôme liquid lipsticks, but here are my top reason’s why they’ll be on my lips all the time now…

The second skin feel wears so comfortably throughout the day. There’s none of the sticky paint like effects of some cult matte lip products, no balling up, no caking, just super smooth coverage that feels like it’s barely there and lasts all day.

The colors are downright darling for spring and summer looks. My two favorites are Kiss Me Chérie for a rich and vibrant red, and Energy Peach for a flirty and sweet shade perfect for daytime. There are seven shades in all for you to choose from and more on the way!

The high pigmented color payoff is pretty impressive and stays put. In fact it’s two times more intense than a regular lipstick. That means these new Matte Shakers are the perfect lippies to try some fun lip art like ombre lips or a bold two tone lip look like Taylor Hill shows off in the campaign.

They don’t dry out your lips like many other matte lip products. Lancôme engineered them that way with a unique water and oil formula. Your lips and your looks will thank you for that!

You can play and build with the level of coverage. If you want something more subtle you can definitely use Matte Shakers as a stain. Just dab a little bit on on the center of your pout and work it around with your finger tips.

Et voilà! Dare to be bold and ban the boring with these ultra comfortable and ultra colorful matte liquid lipsticks. Nothing is stopping you from loving matte lips now…

<![CDATA[Lancôme x Proenza Schouler — A Fashion Forward Fall Color Collection]]>

In the States as you all say au revoir to Labor Day, over here we are saying hello to la rentrée! Respectively, they both mark the unofficial end of summer, and while some of us might not be ready to let go, there are plenty of things to look forward to for fall. For one, the fashion! September issues have hit the stands and it’s time to whip our wardrobes into shape in time for Paris Fashion Week and more mild weather.

I’m clearing my sandals and swimsuits out of the closet and ushering in sweaters and cozier colors in anticipation. But our wardrobes aren’t the only way to feel in fashion this or any season for that matter — there is of course makeup! My makeup is seasonal too, and after a summer of simplicity with a few of my favorites and packing light for trips I’m ready for bolder looks and a few new things.

Enter Lancôme’s new collaboration with Proenza Schouler for the annual Fall Color Collection. Any fashionista or avid shopper knows Proenza Schouler is one of the most beautiful brands out there when it comes to clothing. The designers are known for striking the perfect balance between femininity and wearability, timeless classics and just the right amount of edge. I have a few of their pieces in my closet and now with Lancôme x Proenza Schouler I have their designs in my makeup drawer too!

My Favorites Lancôme x Proenza Schouler

Eye Kajal — A Kajal is a black powder used in South Asia as a cosmetic, either around the eyes or as a mark on the forehead, and Proenza Schouler has reimagined it in an ultra cool format to use with ultimate ease. It’s so much more than an eyeliner. You can create bold looks with intense color payoff. The formula glides on smooth and blends easy so you can wear it on its own or blend it with shadow.

Chroma Eyeshadow Palette — Speaking of blending with shadow, I love all the shades in this Chroma Eyeshadow Palette for fall. It includes 10 warm and earthy colors. But perhaps my favorite thing about them is their color payoff. They’re highly pigmented and in a creamy formula that makes them easy to blend and layer for day-to-night looks.

Lip Kajal — These dual-ended Proenza Schouler lip kajals provide the creaminess and precision of a lipstick on one side and the comfort and shine of a gloss on the other side. I love a versatile lip product and with these you can double up on serious color plus gloss, or opt for one or the other. It’s the perfect purse lippy and comes in four colors, my favorite of which is Orange Arty.

L’Absolu Rouge Chroma Lipstick in Pure Nude — With a bit of color and ultra bold Kajal eyeshadow looks, I think a nude lip is the perfect pairing for this collection. This creamy nude version of L’Absolu Rouge imagined by Proenza Schouler is the piece in this collection to add balance and make bold eye looks wearable with being over the top.

Monsieur Big in Burgundy — Leave it to Proenza Schouler to add a fall fashion twist I love on one my favorite Lancôme products, Monsieur Big. This ultra voluminous mascara has been reimagined in a beautiful burgundy. For fall I love the idea of burgundy lashes with bold brows, rosy, cheeks, and a nude lip. It’s the perfect subtle but trendy look for women who prefer natural beauty.

<![CDATA[Vintage Shopping: Discover Paris' Fripperies]]>

When I first moved to Paris, vintage became a bit of a wardrobe obsession. I was a student on a shoe string budget. With time to kill after school I would wander into the many vintage clothing stores near my home in the Marais. The excitement walking in each time overwhelmed me. I never knew what treasures I would find that day, sorting through dresses from the seemingly endless racks and magically stumbling upon one that fit me like a glove. Such fortune is priceless, yet only set me back a few euros each time

Today I still love shopping Paris’s “fripperies” as we call them, and vintage shopping recommendations might just be the most common inquiry I receive about Paris. Paris is a place where the past is celebrated, so it makes sense that it is a sort of Mecca for this kind of thing. With time and age my vintage tastes have evolved and become more sophisticated as well, leading me to uncover some more refined specialty shops dealing in the finer fashions of decades past.

I’d like to think so much time dedicated to the art of vintage shopping makes me a bit of an expert, so here are my best tips for vintage shopping and favorite addresses if your ever looking to do some yourself in Paris…

Paris Rendezvous

Vintage Shopping Tips

Feel it out – If there’s too much to see, scan the racks with your hands and feel for quality fabrics. This is a good way to find gems amongst the undesirables without having to pull out every piece.

How to skip the dressing room – Don’t want to hassle with the dressing room? Here’s an easy tip. Take the waist of skirts, pants, and dresses and wrap it around your neck. If the two ends meet then there’s 99% chance it will fit your waistline.

Avoid buying fixer uppers – If you really love a piece and it needs some tender loving care, go ahead and buy it. But for every other reason, forego items in need of repair, chances are you’ll never get around to it and it will go to waste.

Check the labels – In Paris’s vintage shops, you’ll find amazing old French brands with beautiful labels and that are no longer in production. These are little treasures so look out for them!

Vintage Clothing Shops in Paris

Didier Ludot, 24 Galerie de Montpensier 75001 – The place to shop high end and designer vintage from historic French fashion houses.

Vintage Désir, 32 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 – A sweet spot for a cute selection of summer dresses, old leather goods, and hats.

The King of Frip, 33 rue du roi de Sicile 75004 – A wide selection for browsing and searching for great bargains!

Come On Eileen, 40 Rue de Rivoli 75004 – A well sorted selection of quality second hand prêt-a-porter from popular French designers.

Pour Vos Beaux Yeux, 10 Passage du Grand Cerf 75002 – A beautiful selection of perfectly preserved vintage eyewear organized by decade.


It was once said to me by an acquaintance here that the reason for Parisian’s often somber and simple way of dress is that the city itself is so bright and ornate. It’s true that the warm creamgrey stone constructing most buildings in the French capital makes the city feel light even on a dreary winter’s day. Similarly, the opulent details of each doorway, monument, and beyond are more than enough to entertain the eye. That being so, perhaps the city’s inhabitants do prefer to dress to blend in in that timeless way we know them for. But when it comes to French women, I have another theory…

Paris Rendez-vous

Before I giveaway all my Parisian secrets though, a few of you might be wondering just what one would find in the Parisian woman’s wardrobe. Here are a few of her essentials worth investing in if you want to give your style “the french touch”…

• The Trench — While the Brits may have invented the classic trench, it was the Parisians that made it chic. Rain or shine, women here will drape it over their shoulders or belt it at the waist for that signature effortless chic look.
• The Escarpins — Never with a platform, these shoes are just high enough to add some allure, and just low enough to be comfortable commuting about town. While “pumps” are regarded as more practical than appealing stateside, for the French they are sexy in a subtle way.
• The Marinière — When the Parisienne is feeling casual and a bit playful, she’ll put on her Marinière. This iconic striped cotton tee shirt in a unisex cut is reminiscent of sailors, and has been a french wardrobe icon for at least the last century!
• The Perfecto — For a night out, the Parisienne will pull out her favorite classic black leather jacket, and infuse her look with the tiniest bit of rock n’ roll (à la Serge Gainsbourg rather then heavy metal) to show off her laid back side.
• The Ballerines — This pretty and practical shoe became popular in France as the famous Repetto reinterpreted their ballet shoes for everyday wear. Today, they’re still a favorite for the Parisienne this shoe she wears so many days.
• The Smoking Le Smoking as one famous French fashion designer coined it, is a sleek women’s suit. In neutral shades or classic tweeds, the Parisian will mix and match the slacks and blazer with many ensembles, or wear it together for a meeting or glamorous event.

Now, what’s my theory behind the Parisian woman’s classic style? I believe it’s to let a woman’s true beauty shine. In her simple and timeless fashion, her outfit never distracts from her best asset, her own natural beauty she loves to highlight. That’s why next week on Paris Rendez- Vous I’ll share with you the Parisian Beauty Essentials. Until then…bonne semaine!

<![CDATA[RENDEZVOUS WITH INES OLYMPE MERCADAL: Beauty & Design Through Generations]]>

Take it from me, stepping into the life of a Parisian designer for a day is a pretty dreamy thing. Since I discovered them, I’ve quite literally been stepping into the gorgeous shoes of Atelier Mercadal, one of my favorite Parisian brands. With creative personal style, lively attitude, and a keen design sense for what women want, the mother daughter duo behind the brand sparked my fascination.

Mother Marie-Laure Mercadal and daughter Ines Olympe Mercadal not only seemed like the perfect team, but also the greatest of friends. “Biensur…Mom taught me everything” Ines explained to me at my recent rendezvous with her in their Saint Germain flagship boutique and showroom. “We work together in perfect harmony now, two brands each unto our own world collaborating everyday to carry out our projects.”

Paris Rendez-vous

While design is a fifth generation legacy in the family, it’s evident that beauty is as well. With the striking resemblance between the two, I had to ask what French beauty secrets Marie-Laure taught Ines in addition to design while growing up…

When it comes to beauty, their “Best secret is to sleep well and drink lots of fresh juice! Of course skincare is of huge importance to French women, from the general to focused products like special creams. Splurging on a skin treatment now and then” like at Lancome's Institut de Beauté for example “Is definitely worth it” according to them. But the best beauty secret from this Parisian mother to daughter? “Mom taught me to be beautiful by smiling even through the tough times.” Such grace I am sure comes in handy when running a global brand.

And on designing in the French capital? “Paris is the framework of my design. I understand the desires of all sorts of women to remain beautiful across the challenges of the city, from the metro to paved streets, our heels take everything into account.” said Ines. Of course Parisiennes are also her muses with their “old-fashioned femininity and quaint charm.”

In the atelier I could see beauty is an integral part of Ines' days, touching up her pinup inspired makeup and hair at her desk throughout the afternoon. So to no surprise, after a few hours she waved goodbye to me as fresh faced as when we began, back to work on another great collection…

<![CDATA[FRENCH IDOLES: Rendez-Vous at Paris Fashion Week]]>

After New York, London, and Milan, fashion week finally comes home to Paris by the end of September. While Spring collections are walking down the runway right now, out on the street fall fashion is just getting started. Our Indian summer has slowly gone and we’ve been greeted with a gentle chill. Perfect timing for the city’s fashionistas to debut their autumn ensembles at the week’s bustling venues, like Palais de Tokyo.

Paris Rendez-vous

My friends and I wouldn’t miss such an opportunity, so we rendez-vous here each fashion week to do just that. Along with some fresh wardrobe additions, I wore Lancôme’s new Fall Color collection, French Idole, for the first time. The traditional smokey eye has been infused with a hint of malachite and amethyst, and the standard red lip now closer to a shade of garnet. The collection is classics with a jewel tone seasonal twist.

So who are the French Idoles of Paris Fashion Week? While models may steal the show inside, outside here the stars are French fashion magazine editors. Names like Emmanuelle Alt, and Carine Roitfeld might ring a bell. They and the rest of their kind arrive and make way through the crowd as beacons of understated style, looking sharp and chic amongst the fashion folly too often on display here. As much household names as the magazines they head up, they are French Idoles in the world of fashion.

And what are they wearing this season? After all, they are masters of the classics. They know better than to do away with what’s timeless. Never over the top, perhaps a simple white blouse is effortlessly draped with a beige trench or black moto jacket. They keep things fresh by incorporating trends subtly; a colorful clutch here, a statement belt or bold scarf there. This is the way of the French Idoles, a philosophy also inspiring Lancôme’s fall collection.

Street style shots of their sartorial sense are the most coveted, and photographers go crazy to get them. I didn’t manage to snap one of my own amongst the madness today, but I did capture a few moments and details from the afternoon. I hope you enjoy!

<![CDATA[Rendez-Vous with Nathalie Colin: Parisian Beauty & Style with Swarovski’s Creative Director]]>

Nathalie Colin is one of those women who is really doing it all. She is shimmering with style, raising a family, and has an impressive career. I started following Nathalie two years ago on her blog WINK, where she shares her sparkling daily routine as Swarovski’s creative director.

For me Nathalie has always embodied Lancôme’s French philosophy, that happiness is synonymous with beauty. When I met Nathalie for a rendez-vous last week at Swarovski’s design Head Quarters in Paris, she was chic, smiling, and enthusiastic just as she has always come across to me. As one of my favorite parisiennes, she was so kind to share some insights into her lifestyle and some coveted French style and beauty secrets!

Paris Rendezvous

What’s a typical day in your life in Paris like, as a mother and creative director?

My daily beauty routine is very focused on cleansing. With my makeup each morning, I always decide based on my mood as well as my agenda of occasions I know are filling my day at work and after. Before heading to the office, I try to prepare ingredients for dinner to make cooking for my family easier when I get home from work. It’s important for me to find time to do that with them. At the office we’re constantly working ahead of trends, identifying colors, themes, and styles emerging in culture and dream up ideas for future collections. For example we started on our spring collection, Crystal Gardens, almost two years ago. The pastels are very much in style right now, with floral inspirations for a timeless and romantic look. We also brought a bit of edge with some plexi glass and futuristic accents, and its been so rewarding to see it finally released this spring!

What are some trends and styles you love for this spring and summer?

When it comes to jewellery I really love the “ring party”, mixed and matched stacks of many different rings. I love to see them paired with bright nail colors especially. I also love maxi earrings, really large ones that make a style statement to contrast a simple outfit and clean makeup look.

How do you design with the modern woman in mind?

Women today are so multifaceted. Like me, they are raising a family, working hard in their career, and also love to play with their style. I always strive to design jewellery that are simple solutions for woman and their busy lives. My designs are fun and versatile that women can easily wear to feel beautiful and empowered by their accessories.

Some beauty essentials always in your handbag or desk drawer?

I always have two lipsticks in my purse. One bright with a touch of orange for day time, and one a bit darker to switch things up later after work. Lipstick, and jewellery really are two of the quickest ways to look put together and infuse a bit of style. When I’m often travelling for work, skincare is so essential and I make sure to always carry a hand cream and lip moisturiser for the plane.

Any French beauty secrets you would be willing to reveal for us?

I believe beauty also works from the inside out. It’s so important to eat right. When I’m stressed and feel I look tired, I have a little remedy that always helps. I brew some ginger in water and add lemon juice, for a great detox drink. Sometimes I add herbs like rosemary, thyme, and lemon grass as well. It works wonders for your well being and skin.

<![CDATA[Haute Couture: A French Tradition of Fine Fashion]]>

On the heels of the latest Paris Fashion Week, I thought it would be the perfect time to talk about a tradition in fashion unique to France — Haute Couture. Paris is the birthplace of Haute Couture, and a treasured tradition still kept alive today in France.

Paris Rendezvous

Fashion in the 21st century is so synonymous with designers themselves it would be hard to imagine it any other way. We know them for the trends they pioneer, their name on the labels of our clothes, and even their personalities that often grow into celebrity. But travel back a few centuries and dressmakers were simply seamstresses. It wasn’t until Marie Antoinette’s dressmaker, Rose Bertin, began to gain acclaim that the concept of a designer’s specific vision latched onto the garments they made. Fast forward to the early 1900’s and Paris was the fashion capital of the world. Wealthy women traveled here from afar to shop for clothing and accessories. Certain dressmakers began to gain prominence, presenting pre-designed collections in portfolios and on live models for customers to commission and have custom fitted to their figure. And voilà, there you have it, the birth of Haute Couture and the modern fashion designer — a most pivotal moment in fashion right here in Paris.

Couture translates literally from French as “dressmaking” and often abroad the word is thrown around arbitrarily to imply an element of prestige. But in France, Haute Couture is not something that is taken lightly. The term is protected by law and regulated by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, who enforces strict guidelines that designers must follow in order to be considered a Haute Couture house. They must...

• Design made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings.
• Have an atelier (workshop) in Paris that employs at least fifteen staff members full-time.
• Have at least twenty full-time technical people, in at least one atelier.
• Present a collection of at least fifty original designs to the public every fashion season that includes day and evening garments.

Today, the concept of Haute Couture is less suited to the contemporary commerce of fashion. Haute Couture collections have evolved into something less about generating money for designers and all about prestige. As I attended a few Haute Couture shows at the most recent couture fashion week, I was reminded that in these gorgeous collections designers can show off their savoir faire and bring their wildest sartorial visions to life, inspiring concepts they will often revisit in their prêt-a-porter (ready to wear) collections. Haute Couture are the dresses of dreams we covet as they walk down the runway and red carpet. They are fashion elevated to an art form that go down in history in fashion museums throughout the world. They are the garments that keep the dream of fashion alive in a way nothing else quite can...and we have Paris to thank for that.

Images Courtesy of Patuna Couture of their FW 2016 Collection.

<![CDATA[Parisian Holiday Style]]>

The holiday season is here, and for Parisians just like the rest of us this means plenty of parties to attend and dress up for. For the Parisian woman and her wardrobe, now is the time of year to have a bit of fun with what she's wearing to get into the holiday spirit.

Her favorite black escparins, or pumps as we call them, suddenly appear in a bolder color such as red or burgundy, with the intention of adding some festivity to her ensemble.

Her standard little black dress is swapped with something a bit more holiday, like a similar cut but in traditional plaid, beautiful black lace, or bright red. It’s her way of mixing things up a bit while still staying true to her classic Parisian esthetic.

Paris Rendez-vous

Temperatures have really dropped in Paris by the end of November, so when it comes to staying warm, cozy knits go on and the tights come out. Bye bye bare legs, in Paris it’s never chic to look inappropriately dressed for the weather! A plush faux fur coat and earmuffs are cute and cuddly at the holidays, and the politically correct option for the Parisian who usually forgoes wearing real fur.

And what about that holiday glitter? Sequins are a bit much for the parisienne, you won’t find them on many French women. Instead she opts for a touch of metallic, either with a fun metal clutch, some sparkle over her usual red nail polish, or some shimmer in her eyeshadow, like the eye brightening Hypnôse Dazzling in gold from Lancôme’s Parisian Lights Collection. The rest of the shine she leaves to the city’s Christmas lights lining the streets of each neighborhood. I’ve already welcomed their arrival with a glass of champagne at my local café and an evening stroll to admire them...

<![CDATA[A Parisian Love Affair with Lingerie]]>

There are certain things the French are known for doing very well, such as pastry, couture and skin care. And of course, lingerie! Some even joke that Paris’ most iconic landmark, the Eiffel Tower, resembles a woman’s leg in fishnet stockings and its four feet, a garter belt. I’m sure that is just a coincidence.

The rest, however, is a long and historic affair with lingerie both practical and indulgent. Throughout Europe and America during WWII, lingerie evolved from elaborate corsets and bloomers into what it is today. As men were at war, women went to work, requiring less physically restricting undergarments. Much like makeup with a smoky eye or sultry colored lip, lingerie has since become an asset of seduction, yet another thing the French seem to be known for. In the postwar era, Paris’ fashion houses recognized the desire women had to reconnect with their femininity, and extended their designs into lingerie. A bit of the country’s world-renowned Chantilly lace certainly had a hand in adding a bit of glamour back to the bra and beyond.

Paris Rendez-vous

Alas, here we are in 2014 and the French have held on to their lingerie legacy, as some of the finest designers and manufacturers hail from Paris just like Lancôme. Their flagship boutiques are among the most beautiful shops to visit in the city, especially when on the lookout for the perfect souvenir. Over the years, I’ve become quite the collector, so if you’re looking for something special I know just where you’ll find it. It’s too close a call to say which is my No. 1 destination, so I’m sharing my two top favorite lingerie shops in Paris with you here!

Fifi Chachnil

Step into Fifi’s world of pastel silks and delicate laces. With retro flair and an ultra feminine esthetic, the designer has created a feast for the eyes in all three Paris shops decorated like a fabulous boudoir fit for a movie star.

Chantal Thomass

A household name, Chantal Thomass is sometimes called the Parisian queen of lingerie. The iconic designer’s boutique on the Rue Saint Honoré has become a landmark in its own right over the years. Its beautiful ornate façade alone is alluring, and the delightful collection of corsets, stockings, garters and more does not disappoint either.

<![CDATA[SOLDES: Paris’s Semi Annual Sales Heat Up Winter!]]>

While the holidays may be over, the shopping frenzy in Paris doesn’t calm down with the debut of the year. In fact, quite the opposite.

Hot ticket items are piling up at the registers for the semiannual sales all of the Parisians look forward to. Any given day of the year, Paris is one of the world’s most incredible places to shop. Its beautiful flagships from the world’s top brands, Lancôme included, take our breath away and small boutique creators are ready to be discovered. Just like the shopping, the sales here cannot be rivalled!

Paris Rendezvous

SOLDES means sales in French, and France restricts them for all stores in the country to take place only twice a year. That’s right, twice a year for one month businesses are allowed to mark down prices and advertise sales, but the rest of the year they’re legally forbidden from promoting with discounts. So that means when the sale window comes around each January to February (and each summer in July) they go all out, and so do the shoppers! SOLDES season here is practically a national sport, and definitely one of every Parisienne’s favorite pastimes. Sometimes people get so heated power shopping for amazing prices that things get a bit out of hand. I once saw a woman faint shopping in the frenzy of the SOLDES and escorted out of the store by a paramedic.

Parisians hold out for months trying to resist buying some of the season’s best items, knowing that when the sales roll around now they can score them at amazing discounts. If you’re a shopaholic coming to Paris, my little word of advice is to schedule your trip during the SOLDES for some serious souvenir shopping. My favourite places to check out the sales are at the grands magasins , including Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, and the Bon Marché, as well as rue Saint Honoré and the Palais-Royal.

In the spirit of the Parisian SOLDES, Lancôme is set to let you in on some great deals online too, with their Friends & Family sale. But you’ll have to stay tuned for more details on that... à bientôt!

<![CDATA[Le Smoking — How To Style My Favorite Parisian Wardrobe Essential]]>

Everyone always wants to know what French girls are wearing. As an American in Paris I have the great pleasure of observing these stylish creatures in their natural habitat, with just enough distance as a foreigner to have my own take on their sartorial habits. The thing that most people think about French women and their fashion is that they are, above all, classic. That is true.

Paris Rendezvous

But that being said, it’s not as if things never change in the Parisian’s wardrobe. Her affinity for the classics doesn’t mean she wants to look like she’s wearing grandma’s threads…even if she is! It’s all about building on the classics and working in her personal touch, or her current favorite trend.

Lately from the streets of Paris and my favorite French It-Girls I’m ultra inspired by one Parisian wardrobe essential in particular that seems to be having a moment…a suit! In French it’s commonly referred to as a smoking (said with a French accent) as a reference to smoking jackets, paired with a matching wide leg trouser. This is a classic wardrobe essentials worth investing in that you’ll wear over and over again.

French women are great at bringing a chic suit or smoking out of the office and in to wherever her vie Parisienne takes her. There is no right or wrong way to dress, but if you want to take some tips Parisienne women here’s the low down on how to style this timeless wardrobe item with french flair…

For the weekend — The perfect way to dress down a suit for the weekend is to pair it with some trendy sneakers and your favorite vintage tee shirt. You can cuff the trousers and push up the sleeves to give yourself an air of nonchalance.

For the office — Instead of the usual white blouse, layer a suit with a tight fitting turtle neck and top it off with a long necklace or big earrings. For shoes, opt for some embellished booties instead of pumps to add a bit of edge.

For a party or date — To add a bit of sex appeal to a suit, opt for sleeveless silk camisole, which French women won’t hesitate to wear without a bra. For shoes, select strappy heels, and instead of wearing the blazer, simply drape it over your shoulders for that je ne sais quoi.

For a wedding — Instead of a dress, I love the idea of women wearing a chic suit for wedding guest attire. A pastel or beige suit creates a strong but soft look, as does a beautiful printed scarf to tie around your neck and make the look more festive and French!

<![CDATA[A Hint of Cayenne Warms Up a Parisian Classic]]>

For each of us with our respective cities, there are certain things, big or small, reoccurring and inspiring us. Paris possesses enough detail to design a collection around each corner you cross.

Yet it’s often the overall lightness of its white buildings and grey-blue rooftops that are said to encourage the average inhabitant to contrast it with a somber Parisian palette of dress. Personally, even after a half decade here, the California girl in me still refuses to shy away from color. I see the city’s brightest corners as my greatest wardrobe inspirations.


This season cayenne keeps catching my eye, from the occasional historic façade of a bakery, to a row of café chairs, to a beautiful shade of lipstick on a chic passerby. This stunning red hue with a hint of orange and a dash of pink borders on classic and daring. Which is exactly how I’ve decided to wear this currently trending color. Enter the trench, an iconic French wardrobe staple most commonly found in shades of khaki and grey. I figure midwinter, the city has enough shades of grey under the cover of cold and clouds. I’d rather complement its more colorful side whenever I can. So I’ve been stepping out with a different take on this Parisian look, in that very bold shade of cayenne, warming up my wardrobe and the streets of Paris now. There’s no better way to accessorize such a statement piece than with shades of lipstick as vibrant as Lancôme’s Color Design in Fearless or L’Absolu Rouge in Rouge Caprice.

My what-to-wear item of choice is actually an heirloom. My grandmother purchased this beautiful cayenne suede trench coat in Beverly Hills in the 1970s, wearing it many ways before passing it on to my mom. Somehow over the years this beautiful statement piece made its way here to live with me. Surely they didn’t imagine back then it would end up making a style statement in Paris. I guess it’s only fitting though to somehow merge these places yet again. It seems to be my way…

<![CDATA[French Foulards: Master the Art of the Scarf]]>

Oh the French and their scarves! Is anything more cliché? But like many of the best clichés about them, this one is true. Paris is the perfect place to study the art of the scarf. Throughout her life, the Parisian woman will collect any number of beautiful silk scarves from the major French fashion houses, and most likely she will pass them on to her daughters. These little silk squares they call their foulards can be reinvented in a seemingly unlimited numbers of ways to add style to any outfit. Here are some of my favorites…

Paris Rendezvous


1. The headband — Whether it’s a bad hair day or your looking to add an extra oomph to your outfit, this is the perfect way to make your hair instantly sleek and chic. Lay your scarf flat and fold it inward until it’s a long band about two inches wide. Tie it around the crown of your head and under your hair for a sophisticated look, or on top of your head in a bow for a cute and casual style.

2. The belt — Folding your scarf the same way as you would for the headband, simply wrap it around your true waist and tie it in a simple knot. This is the perfect way to accentuate your waist line, give shape to loose fitting clothes, or jazz up an otherwise boring look.

3. The necktie — Tying a beautiful silk scarf around your neck is the French way to dress up a plain tee shirt and jeans, make a deep cut blouse more modest, or simply stay warmer in the autumn. Gather your scarf at each end in each of your hands. Fold it in half and wrap it around your neck, pulling the ends through the loop and synching it to fasten it.

4. The capelette — Fold your square scarf in half to make a triangle. The, drape it over your shoulders and tie it in a double knot in the front. This is a chic way to show of the print of your favorite scarf, cover your shoulders to keep warm, or change up your favorite outfit.

5. The bag bow — If you want to bring a bit of color to your outfit, or coordinate your accessories, tie one of your favorite scarves in a cute bow to an otherwise basic tote. This is also a great way to help keep larger bags closed when you are out and about in the city. So has the scarf met its makeup match? I think so. Lancôme’s new release, Auda[city], let’s you create a vast array of looks from just one palette thanks to the ultimate range of colors inside. With this epic eyeshadow set and a beautiful French foulard, there are no limits to how you can reinvent your everyday look…

<![CDATA[Rendez-Vous with Laura Sfez: Designing, Makeup, & What the French Think is Sexy]]>

In Molière’s L’École des Femmes, the main character is a middle aged man so intimidated by femininity that he seeks to control it, much to his romantic demise. Fast forward a few centuries and Laura Sfez wears a tee shirt she created that reads une femme libre (a free woman). But unlike the doomed protagonist, this Parisienne designer knows more than a thing or two about femininity. She practically defines it. Liberated, sensual, and unapologetic, she embodies the philosophy of her own designs and made a name for herself modelling them for her 95K Instagram followers. She named her clothing line, L’École des Femmes, because she wanted it to be as timeless as Molière and as sophisticated as a woman. And of course, like Molière, utterly French.

Paris Rendezvous

Laura herself however spent her childhood between Paris and Los Angeles. As she prepares to open her new store there on Beverly Blvd. October 15th, I thought I would interview her about her unique perspective on the difference between French and American women when it comes to beauty and sex appeal, as well as her inspirations for her dresses that have become a staple in my own wardrobe and are adored by francophile fashionistas across the world.

Are you more Parisienne or American?
I embrace both. Growing up in Paris, school is rigid and demanding. But education is rich outside of school too. Everywhere is full of history, which cultivated my love of art, music, and cinema. Like a true Parisienne I’m confrontational, outspoken, and love to break the rules. But always polite. I embrace my femininity, yet I love fitness and sports, which has been one of the greatest influences of the time I spent in Los Angeles growing up. America gave me freedom to dream about entrepreneurship and be ambitious. Even so, I’ll never be American, no matter how convincing my accent is. France will always feel like home.

What is the influence of French clichés and Paris on your designs?
I think everything that will ever look good on a woman has already been made. The problem is finding these items in our modern shopping world. So I make things that I dream of wearing and can't find but I’ve seen in French films and photography, like Buñuel movies and runway looks from the eighties and nineties. I love French uniforms, clichés like the beret, and peter pan collared dresses. I dream of buying these outfits in Paris but today you can’t, so I design them myself instead.

Do you think French women approach beauty differently from American women?
They’re very different. Parisian women have good taste in makeup as to what’s appropriate when and where. There are simple rules and everyone owns the classics. It’s almost like homework to do so. In my opinion, American women are more extreme in their approach to beauty. They want to wow and go between opposites, and thus beauty in America seems less effortless. Also, American women like big hair. French girls work less on it and leave it be. Overall the Parisian approach to beauty is more low-key.

What do you think the sexiest makeup is for a woman?
The sexiest look for a woman is personality — makeup that is subtle and conveys personality is lovely to me. It’s not about concealing anything but instead to communicate a style. Also, a touch of red is magical. Red is incredibly seductive to the eye and the color of passion.

What’s your signature makeup look and favourite products?
I love winged tips. I feel like I'm cat woman as soon as I put it on, and use either a black liquid liner or a pencil eyeliner. I love a red lipstick to compliment a black outfit and make it pop; I wear it when I am most proud of who I am and want to show off my good spirits. But I can’t live without my moisturiser and toner because my signature look is no foundation, ever.

Any French beauty secrets to share?
Indulge a little and enjoy life! It makes for a happier face.

<![CDATA[5 Parisian Style Hacks for Fall!]]>

When fall arrives I feel like we all start scrambling to get our wardrobes back in order. We’ve been floating around carefree in cotton dresses and sandals all summer, and then suddenly we’re reminded by the thermostat just how many layers it takes to look chic all the rest of the year. Between the big September issues and all the inspiration flowing out of recent fashion weeks, we’re all whipping our wardrobes into shape.

Paris Rendezvous

For me fashion week is on the brain, especially as it returns to Paris this week! My schedule is jam packed with shoots for work and behind the scenes at shows, which means I’ll have little time to waste on deciding what to wear. So, getting dressed in the coming days will need to be quick and easy with effortlessly chic results.

With all this fashion on the brain I thought I would share with you some of my personal Parisian style hacks for the season so you can employ them too if you’re in need of some ideas. I think you’ll find them true to the effortless chic philosophy we live by here in the French capital, and affordably achievable with items that are probably already in your wardrobe…

Re-purpose your favorite basket as purse.Think Jane Birkin and Brigitte Bardot when employing this little style trick, and all your favorite French it girls. Baskets are simultaneously very classic and on trend at the moment. So grab you favorite from around the house and repurpose it as a cute purse. And if you’re already rocking this trend, know that your little panier doesn’t need to be parked just because it’s fall! All the girls here are still wearing them.

Swap in a scarf for your usual hair tie. Let’s be honest, the average pony tail holder has never really been chic. Up your hair game by using a cute scarf instead to tie your hair back in a low pony. It’s so easy and dresses up any outfit. French women loving using scarves and this way is one of my favorites. It’s so easy and works best with small square scarves that you can roll and fold into a ribbon.

Wear your blazer off the shoulders. I see this trick all the time at fashion week! Women here love to wear their blazers draped over their shoulders like they just casually threw them on and couldn’t be bothered to slip their arms down the sleeves. It gives an air of sophisticated cool that can completely change the attitude of your outfit.

Layer blouses under dresses. I love this look and wear it all the time. Layering blouses, button ups, or even a simple white tee shirt is a great way to wear your summer dresses into fall. It creates an effect that instantly renders your outfit more interesting and is also practical for keeping warm.

Stock up on black tights! Oh, the black tights are the GO TO look for the French girls as soon as September 1 rolls around. French women aren’t big on showing a lot of leg, and pair a opaque black tights completes any outfit making it seasonally appropriate.

<![CDATA[Paris Street Style & Haleigh’s Camera-Ready How-To…]]>

Of all the cities synonymous today with style, Paris holds a special prestige. The world has long looked to the French capital as the forefront of trend. Never is this more evident than during Paris Fashion Week, the 10 days twice a year when style is on everyone’s agenda.

When the other cities have shown, the world waits with bated breath to see what Paris will bring, and it never disappoints in or outside the shows. As the iconic French fashion houses serve up a season’s worth of new looks, the crowds outside are just as exciting to admire and photograph.

Paris Rendezvous Fashion Week

It’s always a thrill to see what trends will emerge from the designers and crowds. I for one think color will remain center stage. This winter has been among the most pigmented, with pastel cocoon coats letting us cozy up in some color these last couple of months. Why turn the tint off just in time for spring? Instead, I hope to see color taken to the next level, paired with bolder and brighter tones in the same ensemble. A bit of hemlock green or placid blue paired with radiant orchid should be enough to evoke spring. French style sensibility is all about balance, so if you’re going for something bold, pair it with clean lines and some basic shapes to keep it classy.

If you happen to be wearing the season’s trends, or setting some new ones, let it be known Paris is a street-style photographer’s dream. With its picture-perfect backdrops for their style subjects, Paris is brimming with street photographers who capture these glimpses of glamour and share them with us in the pages of our favorite magazines and websites, showing us runway done the real way.

To see or be seen head to the Tuileries, then Café de Flore in Saint Germain or Collette on the rue Saint Honoré. Or, explore the Marais hopping in and out of galleries and boutiques or lingering on patios to people-watch. Fashionable Paris knows few borders, and you could cross your favorite style spotter while strolling down the street of any neighborhood. When you do, make sure you get your time to shine with these tips to be instantly chic and camera-ready!

Be a street-style star…

A pop of color is a great way to catch eyes and stand out.
A statement accessory shows personality and demonstrates your keen fashion sense.
A bold lip color or liquid eyeliner will define your features and let you light up the lens.
A perfect complexion, achieved with foundation and compact powder, lets your style—not your skin—shine!

<![CDATA[HATS OFF TO PARIS: Top off your beauty look with this perfect Parisian accessory.]]>

When you first think of hats and the French, the beret always comes to mind. Over the years it has become an iconic symbol of the French abroad, a cute cliché if you will. But it would be a shame to limit the French to just one style, when they’ve mastered this accessory in so many styles throughout the years.

The hat fashion for women was perhaps most outrageous in France during the 1700s. Marie Antoinette is most famous for such flare during this time, when women’s hats reached great heights attached to the tops of wigs, and sometimes took as long as two days preparing for a party!

Nowadays, the French woman prefers styles that are a bit more reasonable, but the art has not been lost. A gorgeous hat is still the perfect accessory here, and Paris is home to artisan hat makers and vendors very much appreciated by its stylish population. Here are some of my favorites you must visit when you make it to Paris. If you leave with the perfect new accessory, try pairing it with a bit of liquid liner to make your eyes pop and luscious berry lip like I did today…

Paris Rendez-vous

9 rue St. Paul, Cour Verte, 75004 Paris
Tucked away in the Village Saint Paul this little corner shop is packed to the ceiling with all the fixings for a gorgeous custom hat. Stop in to create your own custom design, which they assemble in the shop right before your eyes.

11 Rue Cassette, 75006 Paris
In Paris’s utlra fashionable Saint Germain neighborhood, La Cerise Sur Le Chapeau specializes in customizing classic hat styles and adding a cherry on top, a little decadence if you will from a selection of colorful ribbons, feathers, and more. In just a few minutes your hat is ready to wear!

23 rue Saint Sulpice, 75006 Paris
Marie Mercié’s Paris shop has been open more than 25 years, and has since made her an icon of this accessory, collaborating with the greatest fashion houses. Her Saint Germain shop houses both practical and whimsical designs all handmade in her Paris workshop.

<![CDATA[Meet Two Parisian Beauty Entrepreneurs — Rendez-Vous with The Report Hair]]>

It’s no secret that the French are known for being at the helm of innovation and trends in beauty. So when I came across a new startup last year called The Report Hair created by two young Parisiennes, I thought maybe these women are on to something, something bigger than their business that captures the zeitgeist in beauty of what woman need and want today more than ever — convenience. In the "Uber age" I say, why not beauty too? In the beauty industry though, the convenient option of “at home alternatives” often means sacrificing expertise. The Report Hair, though, doesn’t.

Paris Rendezvous

After running a successful beauty blog on the side for two years, co-founders and sisters-in-law Marie and Sophie decided to officially get into the beauty biz by launching an at home, on demand hair styling service. One a banker, and the other an architect, the two young woman understood the complexity of working women and the challenge to have it all in this day and age. “We recognized that there was this need for women to regain time at home for their families or simple well being. Most salons just close too early for women to get their hair done after work, so they’re overbooked on lunches, and Saturdays at times that stylists and clients have to set aside when they might rather be with their kids or relaxing” says Sophie. And so The Report Hair was born out of a need for something different from both sides of the industry.

But what was created for convenience, with five stylists commuting to clients in Paris evolved into something more: a truly elite team of nearly 50 of the best hair professionals in the city. Much of the growth of Sophie and Marie’s startup can be contributed to just that. The two vet each stylist at least twice before signing them on, assuring that their clients get only the best. And there is nothing their clients can’t get — cuts, color, updos, blowouts, and now even makeup! All for the same price of such services in the salon without stepping out your front door. I told Marie that I sometimes spend as much as three hours in the salon when I get my color done. “Now imagine if during the time your color is processing you can work or do laundry, or someday look after your kids without needing a babysitter.” She’s right...I’m convinced.

But The Report Hair caters to everyone, replacing not just typical salon visits but also for special events like weddings or even photoshoots. If you call on the phone, Marie answers personally each time and thoughtfully places you with the best stylist or makeup artists for your needs.“Do you ever get foreign clients or tourists?” I asked. “Yes actually, and more and more. We’re working with a lot of hotels that are recommending our service to clients and also have out-of-towners that find us through Instagram and want to try when they come to Paris.”

And while the French are known for their beauty expertise, it’s also fair to say they are not known for facilitating business — bureaucracy after all is a French word. So I had to ask Sophie and Marie the other question on my mind, “how is it being young female entrepreneurs in France?” They both reiterated that a lot has changed in here in the last ten years. “One in two of our friends now is an entrepreneur, so we are part of a supportive community where we help each other and share advice. It hasn’t been as complicated or difficult as we might have once imagined” — a definite sign of the times.

So what’s next for The Report Hair now that they offer makeup artists and have grown their team ten fold in the first year? Next up is the launch of an upcoming app to make beauty even more accessible and expanding into the rest of France. Who knows...maybe even someday to a city near you! In beauty and business these two innovative Parisiennes are certainly leading the way.

<![CDATA[Père Lachaise: A Spooky Place in Paris]]>

The truth is there are some things from home in the states that I miss here in France. Celebrating Halloween is one of them. It happens to be one of my favorite holidays, but it goes relatively unacknowledged in Europe. There’s a certain je ne sais quoi floating in the air this time of year. A slight chill, an amber glow, something just a little bit eerie in late October that puts me in the mood for a good spook. But part of making a home abroad is reimagining your old traditions for new places. So every year when the leaves begin to change and Halloween is upon us, I take an afternoon off to go for a spooky walk around the Père Lachaise. This time, to set the mood, my outfit of the day is my favorite black cape, a smokey eye with the new Auda[city] palette, and a sultry shade of L’Absolu Rouge Definition in Le Pourpe.

Paris Rendezvous

The Père Lachaise is Paris’s biggest cemetery. In fact it’s so large it even has it’s own street names, or rather cobble stone alleys lined with trees and marked with names and districts to help people find their way. Down some of which you’ll find the graves of its most famous permanent residents. Among them are writers like Oscar Wilde and Balzac, composers like Chopin and Bizet, and even the resident American and rock star, Jim Morrison. Despite the tourists they draw to come visit, most corners of the cemetery remain quite still and lonely. But That’s what I like about it here.

My annual stroll through this hauntingly beautiful place is a time to find solitude, watch the golden leaves fall, and explore the ornate beauty of the graves from so many eras of France all here in this city of souls laid to rest. Above all, the Père Lachaise is just another place in Paris to appreciate history. But every now and then here, I turn a corner and the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Suddenly I’m reminded that in Père Lachaise, one is never truly alone. And voilà, just my kind of Halloween spook I was looking for…à la française of course. ]]> <![CDATA[Markets of Paris: Seasonal Shopping à la française]]>

Sundays are a special day in Paris for me. At the start of each week, I wake up early and throw on something casual. On days like these, Lancôme’s Fall Color Collection is my go to makeup routine. The subtle and effortless palette is just right for my Sunday morning outing. So with a swipe of this and a touch of that I’m out the door with my little basket in hand.

Paris Rendezvous

Where to you ask? The Marché d’Aligre of course. Just a hop and a skip past Bastille and around a corner or two…and voilà. One of Paris’s greatest outdoor markets is buzzing with shoppers passing through to fill their own baskets with the season’s offerings. With Mon Regard Parisien, I scan the market for my favorite vendors. This time of year, the stands are filled with figs, mirabelles, and late summer squash. In the center I pass by to marvel at my favorite flower vendor’s heaps of roses, recalling my shade of L’Absolu Rouge in Rose de Ville. I rarely resist spoiling myself here with a bouquet to carry home.

Doing my shopping here is a habit I’ve picked up in Paris, one that brings more charm to everyday life than browsing the isles of the supermarché. Parisians know exactly when their neighborhood market will pop up on a nearby boulevard. After all, local open air markets are a way of life in France. It gives a sense of community to each arrondissement, socializing and sustaining us. No matter what quartier a Parisian calls home, one of these markets is never far. Here are a few of my favorites I frequent in Paris that I hope you get the chance to explore…

Marché d’Aligre — The Marche d’Aligre in the 11th arrondissement is just a quick walk from Bastille. The open air part of the market spans about three blocks and offers everything you could desire, including one of my favorite flower stands. The covered part of the market just next to it houses many gourmet vendors of olive oils, cheeses, and more. On Sundays the market also has antiques!

Marché des Enfants Rouge — If you’re dining versus grocery shopping, you must absolutely visit the Marché des Enfants Rouge. In this covered market in the haute Marais, you’ll find a smorgasbord of vendors serving up fresh food of every origin, from Italian to Moroccan to Japanese. There is also a selection of fresh produce and flowers if you’re looking to bring something home.

Marché aux Fleurs — Specializing in plants and flowers, this gorgeous market in the heart of Paris on Île de la Cité is where I head at the beginning of every season to source plants for my window boxes. It’s particularly eventful on Sundays when the bird vendors show up with prize winning chickens and other beautiful feathered friends on display.

<![CDATA[Parisian Apartment Decor: Interior Design Tips to Achieve French Flare]]>

Before I moved to Paris I found a little book at the store called The Paris Apartment. It sounded interesting enough, so I found a spot to sit between the book shelves and flipped through every one of its page filled with interiors of dreamy Parisian apartments and French inspired interiors. From that moment on it was my dream to one day have a Paris apartment of my own to decorate with such beautiful details.

Fast forward nearly a decade and that dream has come true. I have a little piece of Paris to call my own and decorate. And yet another dream of mine came true. I had the chance to meet Claudia Strasser, the author of the little book that made me dream big, and the founder of The Paris Apartment.

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Claudia is an expert on Parisian decor, a true insider of Paris’s famous brocantes and flea markets, sourcing spectacular furniture, linens, light fixtures, and more and styling them into the homes of her many clients as an interior designer. I asked Claudia to share her Parisian decor tips on Paris Rendez-Vous for some easy and beautiful ways to add some French flare to your own home. Here’s what she had to say…

Parisian apartments are cozy, well worn, loved, collected, curated, timeless, romantic, elegant, inviting, comfortable, eclectic, and chic. Just a few of these touches are magnificently transformative. Just remember it's a work in progress and enjoy the process. Paris wasn't built in a day after all!

Flea markets — Every weekend go armed with your list of one or two items that will add charm and panache to create the apartment of your dreams in just a couple weeks. Go early so you beat the crowds and get the best pieces before they're gone!

Add architectural elements — Many Paris apartments are blessed with built-in features from the past such as crown and wall mouldings or a fireplace mantle. Don't have the original details? Look for small architectural fragments to hang on or over a door, columns, stained glass, or a pair of corbels. For smaller touches, change door knobs and key holes or dangle a key out with a tassel. An authentic antique chandelier is also an excellent touch.

Find a few great furnishings — Aim for a a few stand out french pieces, like a petite mirrored vanity, a Rococo bed, slipper chairs, a chaise lounge, or a Louis XV reading chair by to place by a window. With larger items, an apartment can be sparse as long as what's inside is exquisite and useful.

Mix and match textiles — The markets have the finest linens imaginable from bedding and blankets to tablecloths, napkins, dishtowels and curtains. Don’t be afraid to mix and match these with bright white linens for an antique French touch.

Add pretty little details — Everyday items can transform a place from ordinary to extraordinary by adding vintage dishes and tea cups, old books, trays, small trinkets like magnifying glasses, and a few beautiful perfume bottles or powder boxes. The secret to making a Paris apartment special is all in the detail.”

If you want more of Claudia’s expert Parisian interior design insights, follow her regular posts on her blog, and shop her beautiful online store!


The first oyster I tried was in Paris late one night at a Brasserie called the Pied du Cochon. It was my first several months in France, and thus it was important to be in the spirit of trying new things.

While they may be a bit of an acquired taste, they’ve since become one of my favorite things to eat. Paris may is landlocked, but the shores of Normandy and Bretagne with some of the best fruits de mer aren’t far away, which is why it has some of the most renowned seafood restaurants in the world. Some of my favorites are the oyster bars. I follow the oyster rule and refrain in the months that don’t end in “R”, but as soon as September rolls around you’ll find me back at a few of these spots...

La Cabine Aux Huitres feels much like being in tight quarters on a boat, hence the name. The menu is mostly oysters, served by the dozen and accompanied by a house selected bottle of white wine. The communal tables and always friendly staff give the place a cozy family vibe, especially appreciated by foreigners abroad like myself.

Paris Rendez-vous

Le Mary Celeste serves up a rotating selection of mostly wild oysters. Befitting the oyster offering, its nautical name pays hommage to the great maritime mystery of the “Mary Celeste” ship, who’s crew disappeared at sea never to be seen again. Have no fear though, the staff at his bar is still very much on board seven nights a week serving up great cocktails along with those oysters, the perfect pairing!

Huîtrerie Régis is a culinary pearl near Saint Germain serving oysters exclusively from Marennes d’Oleron. They’re characterized by the blue green algae that cover their gills, and a refined nutty taste. Huîtrerie Régis’s great selection of wines are the perfect compliment, and prices reasonable so you can enjoy as many oysters as you like as they’re shucked before your own eyes.

Clamato is has a 20 foot bar that serves up oysters on the half shell from Normandy, Utah Beach, Maldon, and more. If you like your oysters with all the fixings, you’ll enjoy their spicy homemade tobasco sauce and shallot vinaigrette.

Can’t wait to get to Paris to try out these spots? In Los Angeles, La Poubelle is my favorite French café for them, while in New York Hotel Del Mano is my go to place to order up some oysters!

<![CDATA[Bird’s Eye View — Paris’s Best Lookout Spots]]>

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of these articles going around the internet. You know…the ones that tell you where the most instagrammable spots are. That’s one way to see a place. But to really see a place, I think they’ve got it backwards. While the saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ve found that when you let go of the camera and live in the moment, when you experience life in 4D…well that is enough to leave you speechless. At least in Paris it is…

Paris Rendezvous

But I do see how such guides and lists can be useful. After all, research is the best way to make a trip anywhere great. So I thought instead of sharing my list of the most instagrammable spots in Paris, I thought that I would share the city’s best lookouts to take in a sweeping view of the French capital. Should you find yourself there, I hope you will stop and look with your eyes first, take a deep breath, and just take it all in. But, I certainly won’t blame you if you feel the need to capture it with your camera too…

L’Arc de Triumphe — The hike up the stairs of this very famous monument is well worth it once you see the view at the top. From here you’ll feel as if you could reach out and touch the Eiffel Tower!

Centre Pompidou — Take the elevator to the top floor of the Centre Pompidou in the Beaubourg area to take a wonderful westward view over the city. You can even enjoy the sights over a flute of champagne from the very chic Georges restaurant you’ll find there.

Sacre Coeur — Atop the hill of Montmartre, the Sacre Couer can be seen from almost everywhere in Paris, which means it also offers amazing views over the city. The trip up is well worth it to look back down.

Eiffel Tower — The most famous spot in all of Paris for a great view will take you 80 stories highin the sky. The view from the Eiffel Tower offers more than just 360 degree sights of Paris though, you can see well into the suburbs and on a clear day all the way to the countryside!

Montparnasse Tower — And while the greatest advantage of looking out from it might be not having to look at it, the view of Paris from the Panoramic Observation Deck on the 59th floor is often called the most beautiful in all of Paris.

Musée d’Orsay — Come for the art, but stay for the view! The top floor of the beautiful Musée d’Orsay offers amazing views from east to west on the Seine River and a picture perfect perspective of the Parisian skyline.

Paris des Buttes Chaumont — In the center of this large park on the east side of Paris, you’ll find a beautiful lookout spot offering sweeping views of the city. In the summer the very busy park is open 24 hours, so as a pro tip, go at sunrise to take in the view in solitude.

Grande Roue de Paris — If you’re not afraid of heights take a trip up this iconic ferris wheel at Place de la Concorde for spectacular 360 views around Paris from the heart of the city!

<![CDATA[Montmartre: A Mini Guide to One of Paris's Most Vibrant Neighborhoods]]>

From almost anywhere in Paris you can look up and spot the Sacré Coeur watching over the city. This beautiful basilica whose name means sacred heart has become the emblem of Montmarte, one of the most enchanted neighborhoods of Paris.

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It seems all winding cobblestone streets in Montmartre lead to the Sacré Coeur. Follow them there and along the way you will see why Montmartre is such a special place. The metro exits at Abbesses through the original Guimard structure the artist designed in the Belle Époque. Tucked between beautiful old mansions, you’ll find little ateliers and galleries selling the works of the many artists that have made Montmartre home for its inspiring qualities. They seem to congregate at the famous Place du Tertre, where you’ll find many willing to paint your portrait. With the climb to the top of the hill there are vantage points in every direction offering sweeping views, including sights of the old windmills still standing today in this neighborhood. They were once used to grind flour and press local grapes, but today they are simply treasured historical monuments. Montmartre does however still have a vineyard! Imagine that…a vineyard in Paris!

You may have seen some of this iconic neighborhood on the big screen in famous French films like Amelie, or moments in Montmartre captured by painters like Vincent Van Gogh and his famous painting Le Moulin de la Galette. If you find yourself there, here are some of my favorite spots I recommend you visit…

La Maison Rose, 2 Rue de l’Abreuvoir — This darling little pink house with green shutters on the corner of one of the cutest streets in Montmartre is a darling place to stop in for a bowl of French onion soup!

Tombées du Camion, 17 Rue Joseph de Maistre — This quirky little shop’s name translates to “what fell off the truck” which is fitting considering inside you’ll find a mix of the most random vintage objects. From old eyeglasses, to fun old games, to beads, there are many treasures to be found here!

Refuge des Fondus, 17 Rue des Trois Frères — The Refuge des Fondus is a dining experience unlike any other perfect for large groups. This place is all about fondu, and you won’t go home hungry. Dinner is served with your choice of red or white wine in baby bottles for an extra kitsch touch.

Spree, 16 Rue la Vieuville — Spree is one of my favorite clothing stores in Paris, and just happens to be found in Montmartre. They carry a gorgeous selection of apparel, accessories, and even a few home objects and art from the best French creators.

Belle du Jour, 7 Rue Tardieu — Belle du Jour is a precious little shop specializing in beautiful hand painted perfume bottles and unique scents.

Montmartre Carousel, 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre — At the foot of the Sacré Coeur, this beautiful old carousel is the most whimsical corner of Montmartre.

Clos Montmartre, Rue des Saules — This secret vineyard is still hardly known, and a remnant of an earlier era of Montmartre in which this quartier was actually located outside the city limits and covered in vines.

La Mascotte, 52 Rue des Abbesses — Whenever I’m in the neighborhood with friends, I love to pop into this traditional French brasserie for some oysters and white wine.

<![CDATA["Paris: City of Light & Love"]]>

With so much to offer in this city, even I need to be reminded of some of my favorite places and can always use new tips to discover new ones. From where to eat, to where to sleep, and some shopping in between, this article has got us covered. In fact, it might just be the perfect Paris itinerary for a romantic weekend in the City of Light.

Memorable meals
For the hottest (and most reasonably priced) gastronomic menu in town, reserve months in advance at chef Yves Camdeborde’s Le Comptoir (9 Carrefour de l’Odéon), near Luxembourg Gardens—where you can later walk off the five-course prix-fixe meal. If you can’t get in, try his wine bar, L’Avant Comptoir, next door. Another favorite is two-Michelin-star Apicius (20, rue d’Artois), where old and new blend, both in cuisine (classic French with innovative touches) and decor (modern chic in an 18th-century mansion). Good cheap eats abound, too: brie and baguettes at La Grande Epicerie Paris (lagrandeepicerie.fr) and buttery croissants at Le Flore en l’Île (42 quai d’Orléans).

Shop-till-you-drop streets
Paris is a shopper’s Shangri-la. You’ll find a cornucopia of fashion at Le Bon Marché (bonmarche.fr), where even the dressing rooms are beautiful, while chic boutiques line the streets of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. A surprising find is Yamina on Ile Saint-Louis (56, rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Île) for colorful clothing and accessories. Paris is also full of vintage treasures. Head to the flea market at Porte de Clignancourt (Saturday to Monday), where a maze of alleys offers everything from classic designer clothing to 18th-century antiques, and Mouton à Cinq Pattes (mouton-a-cinq-pattes.info), a thrift store carrying designer clothing.

Haute hotels
Watch old-world French society rub elbows with the hip designer crowd as you sip a café in La Gallerie. The 86-room Hyatt Paris-Madeleine (888/591-1234 or paris.madeleine.hyatt.com) is close to chic rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore. Check out the lobby restaurant, Café M, a favorite celeb haunt. Even the elevator at L’Hôtel (011-33-1/44-41-99-00 or l-hotel.com), a sexy 20-room jewel in Saint-Germaindes-Prés, will put you in the mood—it barely fits two people. For a private dip, head to the subterranean pool (it rents by the hour and comes decked out in candles—très romantique!). —Nicole Alper

Reprinted with permission from Brides: “Paris—City of Light and Love”

<![CDATA[Canal Saint Martin: A Mini Guide to this Casual Corner of Paris]]>

The temperatures are finally catching up with the sunshine here and our Parisian spring is in full swing. The newly reemerged freckles on my nose are a dead giveaway that I’ve been out and about taking full advantage of these glorious longer days, and I’m not the only one.

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This time of year, you’ll find me and many other Parisians living la vie bohême near the Canal Saint Martin. This lively neighbourhood in the north east of Paris is one of my favorite places in spring and summer, but one often overlooked by tourists. Some call it the Brooklyn of Paris, as it has a casual and laid back vibe that is a side of the city much different from its fancier west.

Life here centers around the canal of course, which dates back to 1800 when Napoleon ordered its construction to create an artificial waterway supplying Paris with fresh water. It is also a passageway for river boats to access the Seine from many other natural canals coming from the east of France. This past winter for the first time in nearly two decades, the canal was drained to undergo renovations and a serious cleanup. Since the water has returned, so have the visitors and this neighbourhood is even more alive than ever before.

When I’m headed here, I keep it casual with a pair of jeans and some simple makeup. My Lancôme Beauty Balm with SPF 15 is a beauty essential this time of year. Paired with my new favourite Cushion Blush Subtil, the two give a radiant and dewy complexion perfect for days outdoors. A little bit of Définicils mascara and L’Absolu Rouge lipstick in a “your lips but better” shade like Rose de Ville is all I need to complete the look.

Now that you know what to wear, here is my mini guide to the Canal Saint Martin so you know where to go should you find yourself in this corner of our city…

Hotel du Nord, 102 Quai de Jemmapes — the perfect spot for a romantic dinner.

Chez Prune, 36 Rue Beaurepaire — a terrace for a glass of wine or the house Bloody Mary.

La Marine, 55 Quai de Valmy — delicious destination, foie gras, oysters and more.

Ten Belles, 10 Rue de la Grange aux Belles — great coffee to go from this hip coffee shop.

Dante & Maria, 3 Rue de la Grange aux Belles — a sweet boutique filled with treasures.

Le Comptoir Général, 80 Quai de Jemmapes — brunch by day and dancing by night.

La Chambre Aux Oiseux, 48 Rue Bichat — a quirky spot for brunch, lunch, or tea.

Liberté, 39 Rue des Vinaigriers — a bakery where one should never resist grabbing a treat.

Du Pain et des Idées, 34 Rue Yves Toudic — another irresistible bakery with many specialties.

Quai de Jemmapes — park yourself along the banks of the canal with a picnic and friends.

<![CDATA[Modern French Cuisine]]>

The mere mention of French food conjures up images of fine dining with white table cloths and indulgent dishes with no shortage of butter. Traditional French cuisine boasts some of my all time favorites on the menu; confit de canard , gigot d’agneau , blanquette de veau, and French onion soup to name a mouthwatering few.

But a more progressive take on French food is being served up in Paris in recent years and winning over the taste buds of the city’s most discerning diners. Young chefs with influences from abroad are reinventing traditional plates in new ways, and repurposing typical French ingredients for new concoctions. Their hip bistros once popping up in the edgier east of Paris, are now culinary landmarks for foodies and make Paris’s 11th arrondissement the epicenter of Modern French Cuisine. Modern French Cuisine is all about veering away from conventional cooking, and so the new rules are more like ideas and tendencies the capital’s innovative chefs are adopting...

Paris Rendezvous

More spice — Typically, the French shy away from spices in their cooking, especially if they’re hot. But adding a bit of an exotic touch with unexpected flavors from abroad in marinades and sauces is one of modern French cuisine’s big draws.

Vegetarian delights — Most traditional French plates are heavy meat dishes, but Paris’s best chefs today shop the freshest produce at the city’s morning markets and build ultra satisfying recipes around seasonal vegetables much to the vegetarian’s delight.

Less butter, more oil — The generous use of butter in French cooking has traditionally made it heavy and rich, but many chefs opt for olive and other oils instead now to create lighter dishes that let the flavor of the other ingredients shine.

Perfect Pairings — Wine is still very much the perfect accompaniment to bring out the flavor of different French dishes and vice versa. Nowadays Paris’s best eateries for modern french cuisine focus on natural and organic wines exclusively for optimal taste and quality.

Casual is Cool — It doesn’t take white table cloths and high price tags to get a great meal in Paris. My spots for modern french cuisine are casual no fuss dining experiences where the emphasis is on the food, not the fancy!

If you make it to Paris and want to try some of my favorite spots for this new era of French cooking, book a table at Septime, Le Servan, Le Dauphin, or Au Passage and you won’t be disappointed!

<![CDATA[Bright Lights Paris: How to Shop, Dine, & Live Parisian Style]]>

Here on Paris Rendez-vous, I try to give you some insights into the life of French women. Particularly those of Parisiennes. As you can imagine though, there are many kinds of Parisian women. They may share many things in common, but each will define her own version of what it is to be iconically French, and of course evolve and play with various versions of Parisian throughout her life. But in the meantime, the quartier or arrondissment she chooses to make her home is one of the best ways to understand her style and how she may define herself.

Paris Rendezvous

Enter Bright Lights Paris, a new book from my friend and author, Angie Niles. Angie wanted to shed a special light on Paris by taking readers through the many neighborhoods of Paris via the fashion and habitudes of the women that live there. Part lifestyle and part guide book, I knew exactly what Angie was getting at when she wrote me one day many years ago and asked me to photograph it! Last year we finally had the chance to bring her book to life and spent a few magical weeks working our way through Paris to snap the photographs that now fill its pages, and in the course became great friends!

Now that Angie’s book is finally released, seeing my pictures of Paris in print and on bookshelves worldwide is truly a dream come true. When Angie and I went to see copies of it filling the window displays of the W.H. Smith bookstore here on the rue de Rivoli, it was truly a pinch me moment for both of us!

The book is filled with darling illustrations, french fashion tips, amazing addresses, and some of your favorite celebrities' and bloggers' Parisian memories and tips they shared exclusively for the book. In the author’s own words, here is what Bright Lights Paris is all about...

“I had never been able to find a chic guidebook sharing hidden gems of Paris centered around the eclectic neighborhoods and the stylish woman who live in each area. Bright Lights Paris introduces you to each neighborhood girl, shares where she shops for chic accessories, picks up sweet pastries, and goes to relax for a picnic or to read her favorite novel, among so much more. There are also tips on how to follow her French beauty routine, select your signature scent, home décor ideas and more; all to help you infuse the French way of life at home.”

For any Francophile, Bright Lights Paris is a must buy, which is why I wanted to share it here with you. Not to mention that it is a publication especially close to my heart, my life, and my work in Paris. Should you choose to pick up a copy for yourself, I hope you’ll enjoy visiting Paris with us through Angie’s words and my photographs...

<![CDATA[Le Saint-Valentin: Paris’s Most Romantic Places]]>

It’s no secret that Paris is one of the most romantic places in the world. People come here from all over to get engaged, married, honeymoon, celebrate anniversaries, or even just with the hope to fall in love! I myself have fallen in love in Paris, a few times actually, but the city itself was perhaps the first great love of my life.

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There are so many things that make the French capital romantic. Its beautiful architecture for starters. Then there are the sweeping views with lights sparkling on the horizon, quiet little corners perfect for stealing kisses, and benches in every café for couples to cozy up next to one another. Paris is pure poetry for lovers, and a picture perfect stage for lust or true love to play out.

Since love is in the air, most of all this week during Valentine’s Day, I thought I would share with you my top picks for the most romantic places in Paris...

Pont Alexandre III - This beautiful bridge in the west of Paris crosses over the river from the Grand Palais on the Right Bank to Les Invalides on the Left Bank. In addition to its incredibly beautiful design with gold accents and ornate light fixtures and statues, it offers gorgeous views of Paris in both directions so you can watch the sunrise over the Louvre to the east or the sunset behind the Eiffel Tower to the west. It seems to be the spot for photo ops for lovers, as you may have noticed many engagement and wedding photoshoots taking place here. It’s also where the final scene of “Midnight in Paris” takes place as Owen Wilson’s character comes across his crush, played by Léa Seydoux, on a rainy summer night.

Hotel Amour - The first thing you’ll notice about the hip Hotel Amour in the 9th arrondissement is its flickering red neon sign reading Amour (love) lighting up the tiny street where you’ll find it. Inside this beautiful hotel particulier converted to a small hotel, is the perfect little haven for lovers to retreat to for a quiet romantic lunch or late night drink. The red leather chairs and benches keep with the love theme, and the discrete staff will let you linger as long as you like flirting away the afternoon inside the café or on the beautiful terrace. The hotel upstairs is also a great place for lovers to stay on a romantic weekend getaway to Paris.

Musée de la Vie Romantique - For any true romantic, a visit to the Musée de la Vie Romantique cannot be missed. This charming little museum will transport you back in time to one of the most romantic eras in Parisian history. Its collection of art and original decor in the house have lived side by side with many of the greatest romantics to ever live, including poets, musicians, and painters who the original owner Ary Scheffer entertained here. Perhaps names like Frédéric Chopin, Charles Dickens, and George Sand might ring a bell! The little tea house and its garden are the perfect place for a sweet little date in spring.

<![CDATA[Mastering the Art of Joie de Vivre]]>

One French phrase we all often hear is joie de vivre. There is something so poetic about the nature of the term in French, that it just doesn’t feel the same translating into another language. The “joy of living” doesn’t have that same feeling, able to imply the philosophy and art that joie de vivre encompasses. I’ve come to understand over the years joie de vivre is as much a part of Lancôme as it is a part of French culture on the whole because to both, happiness is beautiful. It’s about cultivating joy, living slowly, and appreciating things big and small.

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The French have taught me well in my nearly nine years here, but in more recent years there seems to be some international speculation that the French have lost their joie de vivre. I assure you, anyone who tries to tell you so is very wrong. Sure, the French also have a humorous reputation of complaining, about work or whatever may rub them the wrong way in the current state of the world. But therein lies the magic of French joie de vivre — it’s true essence is deeply personal, individual and apart from the greater problems of the world, a sort of precious space of mind and way of living that brings one back to the things that matter, the things before your own eyes in the here and now. And so here is what joie de vivre means to me and many of the French so that you too can see that la vie est belle...

Take your time. Ah yes, the proverbial stop and smell the roses. But the French really take this to heart. They lunch longer and drink slower for one. They’ll rarely speed down the highway, or run to catch a train or a bus. One comes to understand when they stop rushing around, that there is very little reason in life to actually do so. So much effort and stress for very little gain. The French know that slowing down allows one to appreciate and live in each moment more fully.

Live seasonally. When it comes to food and festivities, the French are masters of living seasonally. Embracing something different about each season means there is always something to look forward to, even in cold and grey winter month s there are annual trips to the snow, holiday parties to throw, raclette to cook and so on.

Put friends and family above all. The French know what’s really important in life, and that friends and family always come first over work and other mundane responsibilities. This may be annoying for those who want to call on people late at the office, but it’s one of the greatest things about life in France. The French love having big families and have very active social lives because they make time for both.

Surround yourself with beauty. When it comes to design, the French will rarely put function over form. They believe living a life that is aesthetically beautiful is not just nice, but essential to happiness. They seek out beauty in their everyday lives, from their homes to their vast appetite for culture-enjoying art, theater, dance and more. They find beauty in small things like reveling in the smell of a beautiful fragrance and so on.

Find the humor in things. Some people misinterpret this as the French being negative, but the reality is that the French can find humor in almost everything. They don’t worry too much about being politically correct or stepping on someone else’s toes, they speak freely and have perfected the art of teasing people, not to be mean but rather as a sign of affection and reminder not to take anything too seriously in life and that there is always cause for laughter.

<![CDATA[La Manufacture du Chocolat: Alain Ducasse’s Truly Parisian Chocolat]]>

It’s 9AM on rue de la Roquette and the smell of chocolate is floating out onto the street. It has a similar effect on me as coffee, which is a good thing considering I skipped my morning espresso for this early rendez-vous at La Manufacture de Chocolat. I’m not having chocolate for breakfast though. Instead, I’m learning to make it and from one of the greatest chocolatiers in the world, Nicolas Berger.

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After twelve years working around the globe for the renowned Alain Ducasse, the famous chef asked Berger to lead the way in achieving his dream of a truly Parisian chocolate. But bringing Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse vision to life was no easy feat. It began with the search for the perfect factory in the heart of Paris. Easier said than done considering the sheer weight of the machines most old buildings’ foundations in Paris are not constructed to support. Eventually they renovated an old garage in this revamped industrial zone of the French capital that seems to be abuzz with culinary talents in recent years. This morning is no exception, as when I arrive Berger’s team is folding pistachios and nougat into ganache, tending to truffles gliding down conveyor belts, and delicately packing the chocolates into beautiful boxes. But Berger leads us right to the source: the cocoa beans.

In fact the only part of their chocolate making that doesn’t take place in Paris is the growing of the beans themselves, which are carefully chosen from growers all over the world for their various nuances of flavor. Once arrived, the beans pass through two millstones and other machines, heated by friction and melting the cocoa butter to form a cocoa paste that makes up the chocolate most “chocolatiers” buy and reinvent in their particular flavor and form. But not Berger. His chocolate is made from A to Z right here in the 11th arrondissement by his own hands and savoir-faire.

The tastiest part comes next though, as an array of flavor and ingredients are added to make up this incredibly indulgent line of ganaches, pralinés, and truffles. There are 48 different types in fact, each one as tasty as it is beautiful once perfectly packaged on the shelves of their two Parisian chocolate shops, one right here on the Right Bank in front of the factory, and a second on the Left Bank tucked behind the Café de Flore. Inside them, bars are carefully stacked by flavor, and truffles displayed like delicate little bijoux in glass cases.

I couldn’t help but think Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse is the perfect thing to treat yourself to when in Paris. I myself couldn’t resist leaving with some chocolate this morning. If you’re looking for a little indulgence yourself, how about some gourmand inspired makeup like Le Crayon Khôl in Chocolat Chaud or Color Design Matte Lip Crayon in Berry Haute? Today I’m guilty of treating myself to both…

<![CDATA[Fête de la Musique: The Sound of Summer Solstice]]>

If you want to see Paris like you’ve never seen it before, then you must absolutely spend a summer solstice here. Or should I say “hear” Paris because summer solstice in the French capital is celebrated each year with the annual Fête de la Musique. This tradition, now more than twenty years old in the City of Light since it was first introduced by the Minister of Culture, is an evening of free song and dance nearly everywhere you go.

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From large concerts in some of the most famous landmarks to little local jazz bands on every corner, music fills the city with life. We all look forward to this day as it draws us out to welcome summer. On this longest day of the year it seems like the sun takes forever to set, the night easing into itself just like the music blending together in the streets as you pass from place to place.

For this day, I decided to wear some of my favorite summer makeup to go with the theme of the day — my Juicy Shaker in Cherry Symphony and Hypnôse Dazzling in Brun Acoustique. And this year my musical journey began in the historic Saint Eustache church. It would be impossible to outdo the acoustics of this place. From the massive organ pipes overhead, the sound of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Toccata And Fugue In D Minor from Disney’s Fantasia were hauntingly beautiful. But it was the delicate Claire de Lune which followed that nearly moved me to tears as each note floated through this 16th century chapel.

A symphony in front of La Comédie Francaise, a rock concert in the Palais Royal, gentlemen's jazz bands on the bridge, school choirs in the Louvre, it was hard not to stop at every turn and so we did. With every genre there is something for everyone.

I think Fête de la Musique is one of the most alive nights of the year in our city, the feeling is nothing short of magic, something I can’t quite articulate. I hope one day you’ll see for yourself why this is such a special day...

<![CDATA[French Cooking Classes with Le Foodist]]>

A word to the wise...do not go to a cooking class hungry! Now that I’ve shared that tidbit of wisdom with you I can let you in on my other latest and greatest Parisian tip... Le Foodist.

After seven years in Paris it’s still possible to have new experiences. Surprisingly I managed to go this long in such a culinary capital without taking one of the many esteemed classes one can find here. But I finally caved and signed up for an afternoon of cooking at Le Foodist which seemed like the perfect fit. Here’s why...

Paris Rendezvous

For one, all classes are in English, which means all the easier to share with you and for you to try if you make it to Paris. Secondly, Le Foodist is as much about the experience of cooking as the result. Lastly, their focus on mouthwatering French classics like macarons, croissants, and tons of savory dishes will have you feeling like a true francophile, as the purpose of Le Foodist is to help you discover culture through food.

An afternoon at Le Foodist can go something like this. After arriving at their gorgeous dining and cooking space not far from Notre Dame, you’ll wash up for the kitchen, throw on an apron and get straight to work. Or, you’ll kick off your class by all heading to the local open air Parisian market, selecting the freshest ingredients for your dishes. Once you’ve mastered their French cooking techniques in the kitchen, your small class will sit down with the two head chefs in the dining area to eat and hear the history and array of stories about the French food you’ve just cooked up. How’s that for a mouthwatering Parisian afternoon?

Since I’ve already given you the run down on France’s most popular culinary export of the moment, the macaron, Le Foodist and I are sharing with you their vanilla macaron recipe for you to try at home in your own kitchen. You can download it HERE. The best pointer I can give you from my class is to be VERY precise with all your measurements.

Bonne chance in the kitchen and bon appétit!

<![CDATA[Hotel de Crillon — If These Walls Could Talk]]>

The last five years each time I passed through Place de la Concorde I gazed longingly out the taxi window towards the palace in its northwest corner. That seems a long time for a rather recent Parisian like myself, but in the lifetime of this palace it’s more like a long weekend — just the sort of thing you would want to spend here at the Hôtel de Crillon.

Paris Rendezvous

But all those years behind closed doors were anything but a holiday for the many people hard at work on the task of remodelling and reinventing the five star hotel. They are the stewards ushering it into a new era, one that is decidedly contemporary yet embraces its rich past. For that they deserved our patience.

And alas, this summer the waiting game is finally over. This time my taxi crossed Place de la Concorde and stopped at the front doors of the Hôtel de Crillon. Now open, I stepped out and walked the red carpet inside for their grand reopening party to discover the palace’s many splendours from past and present. If these walls could talk, oh the stories they would tell. But the staff has spoken on their behalf and let me in on some spectacular anecdotes from the building’s nearly 300 years to celebrate this new chapter…

• Engraved on the wall of the Jardin d’Hiver is a quote from a letter King Henry IV sent to the namesake Duke of Crillon, a faithful captain in his army at the time of the religious wars of the 16th century. It reads “Hang brave Crillon! We fought at Arques and you were not there” which is his playful homage to the Duke and his many victories, welcoming him in into the king’s army. There words were made famous by Voltaire later on, now etched on the wall here for all to read.

• Up the grand staircase on the second floor is the Salon de Marie Antoinette. Legend has it this is where Marie Antoinette would take her piano lessons, while enjoying its spectacular view over the Place de la Concorde where she would later meet her ultimate fate during the French revolution at the guillotine!

• Back downstairs in the intimate gastronomique restaurant, L’Ecrin, guests can take a culinary journey through inventive cuisine of Chef Christopher Hache. But the wine glasses on the table might puzzle you at first, they have no base to stand on — a throwback to an age of royalty and aristocracy when elite never set their glass down on the table for fear of being poisoned at first distraction.

• Below-ground guests can access a dazzling new addition to the hotel, La Piscine. This beautiful lap pool is the place to take a dip in ultimate style. The skylight to the garden allows for natural light to illuminate more than 17,000 gold leafed celadon tiles

• On 6 February 1778, the building was used as the venue for the official signing of the first treaties between the newly founded United States and France, where Benjamin Franklin and others met with French diplomats to conclude the French-American treaty, the beginning of a long and strong alliance between our two great nations!

I hope you enjoyed this little tour with me, and step inside the Hôtel de Crillon on your next Paris visit to discover more…

<![CDATA[French Lesson: Restaurant Etiquette & Expressions]]>

If you come to France to do one thing, it might as well be to eat! Did you know that French Cuisine is officially recognized and protected by UNESCO as an intangible world heritage of humanity? That’s right - French Food, and its significance here and beyond France, is paramount to all those who have the pleasure of enjoying it, as well the ceremony around serving it. So when in France, you would be wise to spend as much time as possible dining out in the best bistrots. When you do, there are surely some French expressions and manners that will come in handy to know.

Paris Rendezvous

For starters, here are a couple things that might surprise you about dining in France that you’ll find different from the United States….

En entrée in France is actually a starter or appetizer, not a main dish as you might be accustomed to it being in America.

• Your waiter won’t bring you the check unless you ask, even if your plates have long been cleared. Bringing it to you before you ask would be considered quite rude.

• Most restaurants do not have continuous service, meaning lunch ends before 3PM and service doesn’t start again until 7PM at the earliest. You might find it hard to eat outside of these hours.

• Tip and tax are included in the prices of each item on the menu, but at the end of your meal it’s nice to leave a bit of extra tip anyhow if you were pleased with the service. Something like 5% extra would be suitable.

• At bistrots, it’s generally okay for you to go ahead and seat yourself where you like if no one is waiting or unless otherwise written to wait for the host.

• It is not customary to ask for changes to a dish in restaurants and usually not possible.

When it comes to communicating with the staff, a few easy words and phrases can come in handy, especially when outside of Paris where English is less common. Waiters in France don’t make small talk, so restaurant conversation is quite formulaic and predictable. You can get the hang of it in no time!

une table pour un, deux, trois, quatre → a table for 1, 2, 3, 4 // simple as that
pour manger → to eat // when a waiter asks if you’re there to boire (drink) or manger (eat)
la carte, s’il vous plaît → the menu, please // in French menu actually means a fixed menu
une carafe d’eau → a pitcher of water // the simplest way to ask for table water
je prends le… → I’ll have the… // the only prefix you need to ordering anything on the menu
saignant / à point / bien cuit → rare / medium / well done // la cuisson when you order meat
un verre du vin blanc / rouge → a glass of red / white wine // because when in France
un café, s’il vous plaît → a coffee please // it is customary to finish a meal with coffee here
l’addition, s’il vous plaît → the check please // don’t forget, you will have to ask for this

This little guide should give you the courage to try out some French when dining out in France or at your favorite French bistrot nearby! I’ll leave you here with one last little tip. If you’re looking for a lip color able to last through a long luxuriating meal, might I recommend a Matte Shaker? Their long lasting high pigmented color means you’ll be chic all the way through to the last course!

<![CDATA[LES BALLERINES: Beauty Inspiration from Degas’ Beautiful Ballerinas!]]>

What do the Parisians do on an off day in Paris? When I have several days free in the city, one of my favorite things to do is buy an all access museum pass and revisit my favorites. With much of Paris away on vacation in August the city slows down. I took advantage of the quiet time and spent an afternoon reacquainting myself with the Musée d’Orsay.

Paris Rendez-vous

Home to some of my favorite impressionist works, the Musée d’Orsay is where you’ll find a gorgeous selection of Edgar Degas’ famous ballerinas. Every time I see them, I’m completely drawn in. I can see his affinity for the poise, discipline, and beauty of the ballerinas captured in his paintings. Degas’ work and story are very intertwined with that of Paris. A Parisian himself, he lived and painted in Montmartre most of his life. He fell visually in love with the ballerinas as a spectator of their performances at the Palais Garnier, eventually becoming a part of the daily life backstage there. He watched and painted the young dancers performances from every angle: practice to performance, above the stage and in the audience. The drama of the costumes, the way the light danced with them on the stage…all the movements, textures and colors we’re captured in his paintings.

I left my little visit to the Musée d’Orsay feeling inspired and took some cues for my own wardrobe and makeup this week. I brought Degas blending of pinks and blues to my eyes with Lancôme’s Color Design in shades of pink, lining them with Le Stylo Waterproof in Midnight Blue. To keep things soft, I paired it with Lip Lover in a creamy beige called Casse-Noisette for dewy and neutral lips. And to finish it off, a bit of drama fit for the stage with Grandiôse mascara, its ergonomic new design in perfect form just like the ballerinas for seriously poised lashes.

Et voilà, like Degas I found inspiration in these ballerina’s for my very own canvas, creating the perfect daytime look for any outing in Paris.

<![CDATA[The Gift of Beauty]]>

What is the art of French gifting? In France, there are a few customs we follow with gifting of course. Some flowers are appropriate for certain occasions and people, yet not others. Bouquets should be given in odd numbers and never even. If you don’t know someone well, play it safe with some fine chocolates or champagne, and so on. But the truth is, the virtues of good gifting are universal.

Paris Rendezvous

That is to say that quality counts above all. It’s better to give nothing at all than a gift of poor quality. But that doesn’t mean one needs to spend more money. Rather, it’s about choosing wisely. Presentation counts too, as beautiful packaging always adds to the joy, as does a handwritten note or card to make it sentimental. Above all, it’s being thoughtful that is paramount in a great gift.

And so to me, the ultimate gift for the women in my life this holiday season is French after all. What one gift could I possibly find that ticks off all these boxes for so many women in my life? Lancôme of course. To give the gift of beauty and femininity is a very French gift indeed. Giving a thoughtful gift spreads happiness, and not only does Lancôme know how to make everyone woman happy this holiday, they also believe happiness is synonymous with beauty.

If there’s not already a Lancôme gift set with perfectly paired items for someone on your list, build your own starting with one of this year’s stunning gold gift boxes. In just a few easy steps you can put together the perfect present. Simply start by picking a style from the list that most matches your recipient. Then choose from beauty, fragrance or skin care products and a price point to suit your budget. After that, you can browse curated items picked specifically for that special someone until you assemble a dreamy gift box. Perhaps a gorgeous shade of lipstick for a friend is perfect for her to flaunt one of her best features. Maybe a luxurious night cream will pamper a sister who has worked hard all year. Or how about a classic fragrance for mom as the perfect thing to remind her of you everyday. Remember, it’s the thought that counts.

I already made my gift boxes for the most important ladies on my list, and then added a few extra personal touches of my own while cozying up in front of the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate. There is nothing quite like a chocolat chaud and preparing presents to put you in the holiday spirit. Now that they’re ready, I can’t wait to head out and deliver these Lancôme gifts on Christmas Day!

<![CDATA[Paris Terrasse: Outdoor Drinking & Dining in the French Capital]]>

Summer is a generous time in Paris. The sun is never stingy, shining upon us and hanging high in the sky until nearly 11PM each night. These warm afternoons stretch into magical summer evenings that seem to never end, drawing us all outdoors to spend time with friends. Cafe goers spill out onto the terraces in exemplary Parisian fashion, refusing to vacate their table for hours on end. They are the definition of leisure. After many summers in Paris, I’ve done the rounds and picked my favorite Paris terraces to recommend to you!

Paris Rendezvous The Raphael Terrace — Tucked atop the fabulous Hotel Raphael in the ultra upscale west of Paris is their amazing rooftop terrace complete with a restaurant and bar. With some of the most iconic views in the city, the Eiffel Tower just to the south and the Arc de Triumphe just to the north feel within arm’s reach from this bird’s eye view. A perfect place to stop by in the late afternoon for an ultra refreshing virgin cocktail served a delicious selection of macarons.

Le Perchoir — Another spectacular rooftop bar, Le Perchoir is perched high in the sky in the east of Paris. An urban and trendy atmosphere, in spring and summer this bar is a hot spot to drink and mingle while watching the sun set behind Le Sacre Coeur in the distance.

Ralph’s — This Franco-American restaurant create by Ralph Lauren on the fashionable left bank is one of my summer dining experiences. The quiet and cozy patio just off Boulevard Saint Germain has ultra plush seating so you can sit back and relax while you order up a fresh salad at lunch or one of their delicious burgers for dinner.

Saut du Loup — Hidden along a less frequented stretch of the Louvre is one of the best terraces in Paris, the Saut du Loup. On their patio you can sip rosé all day long and well into our warm Paris summer evenings. To your left you can marvel at the Pyramid du Louvre, and to the right a long shot view over the Tuileries to the. Surrounded by the gardens of the Louvre, I find it one of the dreamiest places to relax in summer.

Faust — Cool down in summer along the banks of the Seine at a new Parisian favorite, Faust. Especially on the weekend, their terrace under the Parisian sun is a great spot to gather with friends for drinks and music.

<![CDATA[Thrifting at Paris’ Best Spots for Antique and Vintage Treasures]]>

I like my cities with a bit of history. Perhaps I didn’t get enough of it growing up in Southern California. Everything there seems so new compared to Europe. Now in Paris, history is abundant.

You’re surrounded by it in the streets and visit it in museums and at monuments. You can even own little pieces of it from one of the city’s various brocantes and marché aux puces, or, as they’re known in America, flea markets. I’m no stranger to the world of antiques. As you might recall me mentioning, before moving to Paris I spent a year in an antique shop in California, working and saving up for my move. I look back on it fondly, and made some dear friends there. Antique dealers are always interesting characters. I like people who value the past, and don’t just toss things by the wayside. In addition to friendship, these dealers taught me a lot about antiquing, from hunting treasures to identifying each piece’s age and origin. I put that knowledge to good use each time I visit my favorite brocantes and marché aux puces in Paris. When I’m not in the market for anything in particular, I go just to be inspired—and for the element of discovery. As I pass by or pop in for a visit, I strike up conversations with some of the vendors, reminding me fondly of my old friends. As it turns out, for me there’s a bit of history in California after all.

Paris Rendez-vous

When it comes to Paris, here are my top picks for antiques and great vintage finds:

•  Porte de Vanves is the first flea market I ever visited in Paris, and to this day still my favorite. Prices here are slightly more affordable than other markets, and ideal for finding art, books, small furniture and other items for the home. It’s a weekend market, so pop by before noon on Saturday or Sunday.

•  Clignancourt might be the most famous flea market in the world. Rightly so as it’s practically a small town, with roads and passages lined with specialty vendors. It’s really an area comprised of many markets, and among the best are the Puces de Saint Ouen and Marché Paul Bert. Anything you can dream, you’ll find here as long as you’re willing to look hard enough! At Paul Bert, there’s a café that is the perfect place to pause during your day at Clignancourt.

•  Village Saint Paul is not only one of the most charming areas of the city, but also home to some of the loveliest brocantes. Between rue de Rivoli and the Seine, rue Saint Paul is lined with tiny shops stuffed with treasures. Au Petit Bonheur de Chance is among my favorites. Most Sundays in a large courtyard just off the street you’ll also find a flea market with even more to shop and explore.

<![CDATA[Women’s Day 2018 — Women That Went Down in History]]>

If you pay any attention to the news you know the last year has been big for women. Our voices seem louder than ever and our achievements ever greater. But women making waves in history is nothing new. Lancôme knows this as we celebrate women every day! Not just our beauty and creativity, but everything that comes our way in the pursuit of happiness. So in that spirit, I thought Women’s Day this March 8th would be a great opportunity to shine a light on some of the most amazing women in the history of France. While you may know names like Bardot and Deneuve from the movies, there are many more French women who are household names for achievements far and wide. Here are a few worth knowing…

Paris Rendezvous

Marie Curie — Glass ceilings are something scientist Marie Curie became accustomed to breaking. As a pioneer of radioactivity, she was the first women to win a Nobel Prize, and the first person ever to win one twice! For her extraordinary achievements in science which are still paramount today, she became the first woman buried in the Panthéon on her own merits.

Simone Veil — After surviving the holocaust at Auschwitz as a child, Simone Veil developed an humanist view of the world she would bring to her political achievements. As a lawyer, then Minister of Health, and eventual President of the European Parliament, she is one the most prominent feminists of all time. She fought for the rights of women, the poor, and the handicapped until her death last year when she became the second woman to be buried in the Panthéon on her own merits for her extraordinary contributions to France.

George Sand — Famous French author and journalist, George Sand, was indeed a woman writing under a man’s pseudonym. She was one of the first women to break through gender roles in dress, manners, and more, leading an unapologetically provocative private life which inspired her prolific achievements in literature, as did her frequent travels. She went on to become a prominent advocate for women’s rights and the poor, which many believe should have earned her a place in the Panthéon.

Simone de Beauvoir — This Simone was also a groundbreaking feminist intellectual, writer, and philosopher. Her book The Second Sex detailed women’s oppression of the time and went on to become foundational to modern feminism, challenging society to adopt more fluid definitions of gender and a woman’s right to live an unconventional life not limited to domestic duties.

Bonus fact! The first woman to be buried in the Panthéon is actually Sophie Berthelot, wife of scientist and politician Marcellin Berthelot. The couple passed away of natural causes the very same night in their sleep. Along with the request of the couple not to be separated in death, it was decided that Sophie should be buried next her husband in the Panthéon.

Happy Women’s Day to the women of France, the United States, and beyond!

<![CDATA[Book Club — My Favorite French Reads]]>

What a shock! Arriving back to Paris this week after nearly a month in California was much colder than expected. By now I thought we would all be pulling out the floral dresses and wearing Lancôme’s lovely spring collection, but a last minute cold front from Siberia has rolled in and I’m bundled up even more now than before I left. I even got the snow day I had been wanting but missed a few weeks back. Turns out one day of snow in Paris is quite enough for a California girl like me.

Paris Rendezvous

All this frigid air just makes me want to curl up inside with a good book, and depending how long this icy weather lasts I’m going to need more than one. Which got me thinking about what a great idea it would be to share with you all some of my favorite French reads. Chances are if you keep up with me here on Paris Rendez-Vous, then you are probably quite the francophile yourself…or even a francophone! Right now I’m re-reading some of my favorite French titles, except this time around I’m actually reading them in French instead of English like I started off. It’s a great way push my French to the next level.

So if you’re waiting out the cold like me here are a few great French reads I recommend…quite a range in fact so there should be something for everyone!

Bonjour Tristesse by François Sagan — This is a beautiful novella that is the coming of age story of a young French girl. Beyond the beautiful description of its backdrop in the South of France, there is drama and flirtation to entertain as well. François Sagan wrote it when she was just a teenager herself…quite impressive considering it was one the most successful and beautiful pieces of French literature. This has to be one of my top five favorite reads of all time.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry — Or Le Petit Prince as we all know it, is one of the most iconic French books of all time for people of all ages. A tender and easy read, it is filled with moral and spiritual lessons that are truly touching.

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne — As a child my father would always play Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea for me. It wasn’t until I visited Nantes here in France that I realized it was written by Jules Verne, one of France’s most beloved authors. His book Journey to the Center of the Earth is the story of a professor who finds a secret tunnel to the core of the earth, encountering all sorts of fantastical danger along the way! All of Jules Verne’s books are such a delight!

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert — Another great classic, Madame Bovary tells the story of a woman living in French countryside. She uses her highly romanticized view of the world to escape the banalities of country life, leading her into dangerous liaisons.

<![CDATA[Fact and Fiction: A Few of My Favorite Books Set in Paris]]>

In Paris, the imagination reacts sooner than one can stop it—especially if you’re a writer. For this reason it’s certain the city will never fail to go down in history, in not one, but hundreds of versions. Its splendor sets the perfect scene for stories both real and imagined to play out, some that have become my favorite reads. From the classics to “chick-lit,” seeing Paris from the perspective of many different writers only reminds me how much I’ve still to discover here. Here are some of my favorite Paris reads:

“Almost French: Love & Life in Paris” by Sarah Turnbull

Le Brunch in Paris

I read Sarah’s account of transitioning her life into France from Australia before I moved to Paris myself. While she came for love, I enjoyed how she made Paris completely her own experience in the novel. Amused by all the peculiarities and charm of her new city, she recounts anecdotes of life in the Marais, remodeling a tiny Parisian apartment, learning the language, and many more cultural nuances, including some fashion and beauty observations. It’s a lovely and light-hearted read for anyone curious about what day-to-day life in Paris is truly like.

“A Moveable Feast” by Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway wrote, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” He would know, as his sometimes-fictional memoir is inspired by the years he lived in and wrote about the city. From the change of seasons to his favorite cafes, like Café De Flore, Les Deux Magots, Le Dôme and others, Hemingway’s history is still living in Paris today as we can visit these same shops and cafes. His work demonstrates that in every Parisian story, Paris is both a setting and character. It’s a classic that anyone who has traveled to, lived in, or aspired to visit Paris must read.

J’adore Paris by Isabelle Lafleche

Isabelle Lafleche’s delightful story of a Parisian newly returned to her hometown from New York City has all the glamour one would expect from a novel set in the city of lights. Couture and romance dazzle the life of Catherine, who works in high fashion and lives in a beautiful Parisian flat with her handsome French beau. Readers chase the suspense page by page when Catherine finds out her new high-profile job is more dangerous than she ever imagined. I can’t wait to see what is next for this character.

<![CDATA[MORE THAN A MACARON: French Pastry Lesson]]>

While it seems to be the dessert du moment, let’s not all forget that French sweets are so much more than the macaron. In France, even the average corner bakery will rarely disappoint, thanks to a national heritage of amazing bakers and recipes perfected over the centuries.

After years of indulging, I think I’ve eaten my way to calling myself an expert on the subject! Here are a few of my favorites you might like taste for yourself...bon appétit!

A mille-feuille is made of three layers of puff pastry, alternating with two layers of pastry cream. It’s name translates to “thousand layers” for its seemingly endless flakey sheets of pastry that crumble when eating it. I first had Mille-feuille in Paris at Mariage Frères, and it’s still my favorite place to eat it today.

Mont Blanc
The Mont Blanc is a dessert of puréed, sweetened chestnuts topped with whipped cream and sometimes placed on a meringue base. The name comes from Mont Blanc, as it resembles a snow-capped mountain. Where’s the best place to indulge in one in Paris? Angelina’s on the Rue de Rivoli...

Paris Rendez-vous

Eclairs originated in nineteenth century in France, and have since become a classic. The name comes from the French word éclair, meaning 'flash of lightning’, because it can be eaten in a flash! Typically in chocolate, coffee or caramel, bakers like L’Éclair de Génie are giving them a contemporary twist with passionate fruit, apple, strawberry mint and more...

Chou à la Crème
The eclairs little cousin, chou à la crème is made of the same dough, choux pastry, that is light and fluffy. While they’ve been topping cakes and other famous desserts like the religieuse for a long time, they’re having a bite sized moment in Paris right now thanks to delicious places like Popelini and Odette, both of which are worth a try!

Madeleines are very small sponge cakes with a distinctive shell-like shape . They make a delicious and easy dessert as they can be devoured straight from your perfectly polished finger tips. My favorite places to pick them up in the heart of Paris is the bakery Miss Manon at Saint Paul...

<![CDATA[The Best Way to See Paris This Summer — Scoot!]]>

If you ask me some of my favorite summer memories of Paris, I have to say, might have taken place on the back of a scooter. To be honest, riding around Paris on two wheels at any time of year to see the sites is undeniably a dream. Something about doing so in summer is really spectacular. Catching that wind in your hair on hot days and warm nights while cruising past Notre Dame or underneath the Eiffel Tower makes you feel like you're riding through the scene of a movie. At least that’s the feeling I had one of the first time I rode around Paris on a summer night on the back of Parisian’s scooter — a good cliché, isn’t it?

Paris Rendezvous

Lately, scootering around Paris is becoming easier and more enjoyable for everyone than ever. Paris pioneered the public city bikes system with our Velib. The shared bike system has been copied across the world now in cities like New York, London, and beyond. But now Paris has done it again with the amazing City Scoot! There are more than 1500 scooters all over the city and can be picked up at and dropped off as you go, without even so much as having to carry around your own helmet — it’s included! All you need to do is sign up via an app to get going.

The city is loving these scooters for much more than just the ease of getting from point A to point B with them. They’re actually completely electric too, meaning they are clean for the environment (no exhaust here!) and ultra quiet so our streets are clearer and quieter. Almost everyone I know has been using them to zip around Paris so I had to give it a try myself. And as we say in French, je suis fan!

There is something distinctly European about riding around town on a scooter, so I thought I ought to let you in on this locals secret, City Scoot. That way you too can see Paris like the Parisians do next time you come to the city, with the wind in your hair, the whole of the French capital just around the corner. It’s definitely the best way to see Paris this summer time…

<![CDATA[Five Things French Women Splurge On]]>

After many years in France, one thing is for sure — I will never be French. Once upon a time I dreamed of being French, but I’ve come to realize over the years that being different is a good thing. Plus, being an outsider allows me to observe and understand this culture I’ve come to love in a special way. Eight years in and most days I will still could never fully pass for a French woman walking down the street with the way I dress or do my hair, and I’m okay with that. But while I haven’t entirely adopted her style, I have taken a few lessons from the French woman’s spending habits. As well as their fashion, French women seem to be known for being discerning consumers who go for quality over quantity. On that note I thought I would share with you a few of the biggest things French women splurge on...

Paris Rendezvous

Lipstick — A nice lipstick is the little luxury every French woman loves to have in her bag. They all know a bit of lipstick can change up any outfit. A touch of rouge even with just a tee shirt and jeans can totally transform the look. But beyond style, a lipstick from her favorite brand is almost like a chic accessory that she takes great pleasure in pulling out of her bag, on-the-go, for an air of sophistication.

Accessories — One of the wardrobe habits of French women is definitely to splurge now and then on nice accessories. A handmade hat, a discreetly luxurious purse, some beautifully crafted earrings...they become more like little treasures in a French woman’s wardrobe and just like her lipstick, make her feel luxurious and chic each time she wears them.

Lingerie — I once a read a statistic that French women spend 40% of their disposable income on lingerie! While I do think that is a bit exaggerated, French women prefer to invest in quality for anything that goes on or close to their body. Beautiful intimates are something they feel are worth investing in, and quality goes a long way to make these pieces last longer. Knowing she has something lovely on underneath makes the French woman feel feminine no matter what. Also, they always buy the matching separates.

Skin Care — French women never cut corners on skin care. They’re taught to always be discerning about the products they put on their face especially, and view taking care of their skin as a long term investment in health and beauty. While they don’t always have to splurge to get the best, they don’t hesitate to fork over the funds to get the best of the best. For the French woman, beauty begins with radiant skin and she will invest in achieving it at almost all costs.

Travel — This one doesn’t just go for women, but for the French in general. They love to travel near and far and will always set aside time and money to invest in new experiences and new places. So much so that travel is hardly considered a luxury in France, but a necessity for culture and the soul, for discovery as much as rest and relaxation.

<![CDATA[My Favorite Glacier — Ice Cream at Berthillon]]>

Ask anyone in Paris what their favorite glacier — ice cream shop — is and they will almost all say Berthillon. I’m no exception and summer is my favorite time to visit this sweet spot for a delightful treat on a hot afternoon.

Paris Rendezvous

Paris slows down in summer with so many Parisians out of town on vacation, but if you walk past Berthillon mid-July you might think everyone left in town is there. All the Parisians remaining are lining up to get their last summer fix of their gourmet glaces before they too, like so many other institutions, close for the grandes vacances. You can count me among them of course, and I can tell you from experience the long line is absolument worth it!

Berthillon has been family owned and run even before it was Berthillon. The family inherited the location as a restaurant from their relatives, but when their homemade ice cream become increasingly popular they decided to become a full blown ice cream shop. Today all the ice cream is still made up stairs above their store front, right on the Île Saint-Louis — a truly Parisian dessert! I can’t keep such a delicious spot a secret so I thought it was about time I share it here.

With over sixty regular flavors, they rotate them seasonally, serving about thirty or so at a time. There are some in particular they’re famous for, like their salty caramel, for example, which I normally get. But in summer I like something lighter and I can’t get enough of their sorbets. Forest strawberry, apricot, blood orange, and melon to name a few with the deepest truest flavors of any ice cream out there.

And while I’m switching up my order for something lighter and sweeter at Berthillon, I also switch up my makeup in summer. Speaking of light, sweet, and fruity, I’ve been reaching for my Juicy Shakers all the time lately. These light tinted glosses and their ultra nourishing and non sticky formulas are nice to swap in during the summer months to replace heavier, darker lipsticks. There are twenty-three mouthwatering shades to try with some of my favorites being Lemon Explosion, Apri-Cute, and Wonder Melon…yum! Give them a try and if you come to Paris don’t forget to stop and try Berthillon too.

<![CDATA[A Snow Day, The Paris Way]]>

Last Tuesday morning as I was having my coffee on another grey Paris day, I looked outside and saw snowflakes starting to fall. As we only get a few each year, the first is always exciting for us Parisians. It lifts the sometimes gloomy winter mood and just like that we’re all kids again, marvelling at the winter as the snow falls. I am not exception.

Paris Rendezvous

The more brave of us, like myself, even bundle up to head outside and enjoy the sight of the city covered in white. As a California girl who never had a white winter growing up, snow is especially exciting for me now that I live in Paris where we truly experience the four seasons.

If you find yourself here in the French capital when it snows, you might be wondering what to do. So I gathered a few ideas for you here for a snowy rendezvous in the city. Whether you prefer to stay warm inside or venture out, I think you’ll find Paris is wonderful with a bit of winter snow…


• Cozy up inside and enjoy the snowflakes falling out the window while you pamper yourself with one of my favorite Lancôme masks. Thirsty winter skin will love the hydration from the Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Sheet Mask, or all the perks of the new Rénergie Lift Multi Action Firming Mask which I’ll tell you more about next week!

• Get inspired by the weather with your makeup and create a frosty look with a few of my winter favorites paired together like pale and shimmery Day & Night shade of L’Absolu Rouge by Camila Coelho, and Color Design shadow for your lids in a silvery shade called Optic. You’ll look like a beautiful ice queen when you finally make it outside!

• Grab your camera and head up to the Sacre Coeur in Montmartre for a view over all of Paris and admire the city blanketed in snow. Then take a stroll around this incredible village atop the hill to snap some beautiful pictures of the winter wonderland!

• Bundle up and take a stroll in the Tuileries gardens to see the frozen ponds and ferris wheel before heading inside to the nearby Angelina’s to warm up with one of their famously decadent hot chocolates.

• Head to the Louvre and take your sweet time getting lost in Paris’s largest and most famous museum, stopping from time to time to admire the beautiful scenes of Paris in the snow out the windows of this 16th century palace of course!

<![CDATA[Habitudes: Simple Parisian Pleasures for Your Daily Life]]>

I owe much of my decision to move to Paris to the allure of a simple life. As seductive as all of its glitter and glamour can be, it wasn’t what sold me on living here.

A two week stay in a small studio apartment below the Jardin du Luxembourg on one of my first visits convinced me that one doesn’t need a lot to be happy in Paris. Paris in my opinion is almost as much a mindset as a destination. The Parisian habitudes I’ve adopted allow me to savor little joys throughout each day. Wherever you are, try out a few aspects of the Parisian way of life and see for yourself…

Paris Rendezvous

• Mornings at the boulangerie - Many Parisians first stop before work is the corner bakery for a croissant or pain au chocolat. Can you imagine a better way to start the day than the smell of fresh baked goods?

• Proper greetings - The French ease into the work day starting with properly greeting colleagues. Say hello, ask them how they are and wish them a great day. We don’t just barge in on colleagues and ask for something we need. We show a friendly interest in their well being with a bit of conversation before getting to the point. It may seem tedious, but it goes a long way to create a pleasant community at work.

• Walking whenever possible - Parisians prefer to walk than ride. The city is beautiful, and best appreciated up close and personal on foot, finding joy in the beautiful details and amusing little encounters we stumble upon.

• No working lunches - You will rarely find a Parisian eating over their keyboard. The lunch hour is sacred whenever possible. Do as the Parisians do and step away from the office, savor your food with colleagues and talk about anything other than business. It’s not just more agreeable, but you’ll find yourself happier and more focused the rest of the day.

• The coffee pause - I love that we call coffee breaks a pause in French. Putting life on hold a minute (or an hour or two!) is exactly what they’re for here. It’s an afternoon ritual enjoyed in good company or alone and should never be rushed.

• The apéro - When work is done, we celebrate. A small drink out with friends or colleagues or at home before dinner while cooking is a little indulgence the French never deny themselves the pleasure of.

• Fresh markets and traiteurs - Rather than one stop shopping at the supermarché (supermarket), Parisians take great pleasure in their quartier’s farmer’s market and each individual traiteur. From the butcher to the cheese monger and so on, it’s a delight, not a hassle to get the regular’s welcome at each stop they make in search of the perfect ingredients for dinner.

<![CDATA[Galette des Rois: A Fun & Delicious French Tradition]]>

If you’re walking around Paris in January you will notice something quite special in the window of nearly every bakery. There are rows of cakes with crowns atop them. This cake is called the Galette des Rois, or Cake of the Kings, and it happens to be one of my favourite French traditions.

Paris Rendezvous

The cakes can be dated back to Roman times as part of the winter solstice festivities, but later on the Catholic Church moved the tradition to January to celebrate the three kings, or wise men, which is how it got its regal name. Today the tradition is still alive and well in France.

While the official day for the Galette des Rois is January 6th, the French eat them all throughout the month of January. Each cake is sold with a crown, and has delicious buttery layers of flakey crust. Inside it’s filled with frangipane that can also be found in chocolate and other varieties. But that’s not all. Hidden inside the cake is a small token or prize which the French call the fève. This is where the fun comes in!

When it is time to eat the cake, the tradition is that the host cuts the cake into however many pieces as there are guests, while the youngest of the group hides underneath the table. One by one, he or she will call out names until each person at the table has their slice. While eating their piece, whoever finds the fève is the winner and crowned the king or queen! You can even throw in a real prize if you want to drum up some competition. Whoever wins is responsible for bringing the cake to the next party.

I love this fun tradition as it's the perfect excuse to keep gathering with friends and family and indulging together even after the official end of the holidays. So last week I went around town to some of my favorite bakeries to photograph their beautiful displays of galettes. Eventually I settled on a chocolate one from Sebastien Gaudard, as this year the famous baker was honoured with the title of the best Galette des Rois of 2016!

While the cake is delicious and not difficult to make, the truth is you can recreate this French tradition even if you can’t find it at your local bakery. All you need is a special little charm or token to hide inside, a paper crown, and the rules above. It’s a fun thing to do with friends that I thought you might all like to try this January. And in case you’re wondering what to serve it with, how about some champagne?

Bon appétit!

<![CDATA[Christmas in Paris]]>

This year the holidays are extra special for me. I’ve decided to forego the annual trip back to the states and stay in town for my very first Parisian Christmas.

Paris Rendezvous

Growing up in California, each year at this time my family would pile in the car and drive from neighborhood to neighborhood to see all the house’s Christmas lights. Flash forward many years and my city has changed, but old traditions can be reinvented for new places. My mom just arrived in Paris to spend the holiday with me, and instead of our annual drive, we took to the city by foot to see all the Christmas lights. All bundled up in a cozy coat of course and Lancôme’s eye brightening Hypnôse Dazzling in gold for some truly festive eye makeup .

In Paris, the local government of each twenty arrondissements is responsible for decorating the quartier for the holidays, so as you stroll between neighborhoods the decorations change. Each street is draped with different twinkle lights, lined with trees covered in different bulbs, and local monuments illuminated in festive colors. It is truly magic which must be why many people choose to visit Paris at this time of year. I’m so happy about spending my first Christmas in the City of Lights that I just had to share the magic of it with all of you.

La Grande Roue — Each December the giant ferris wheel known as La Grande Roue in French returns to Place de La Concorde. A few spins around on it offers breathtaking views over Paris from high in the sky!
Les Grands Magasins — The unveiling of Galeries Lafayette and Printemps’ department store holiday windows is always festive. It’s a must do each season for Parisians to stop by and see the animated Christmas and winter scenes they’ve dreamed up.
Marché de Noël des Champs-Elysées — Europe is famous for its Christmas markets, selling an array of goods and also serving delicious treats. Paris’s best is on the Champs-Elysées, and a great place to stroll and cozy up at night for a hot spiced wine, candied apple, or crepes.

<![CDATA[La Vie Nocturne: Nightlife in the City of Light]]>

They say New York is the city that never sleeps, but take it from me: no one stays up all night in better style than Paris. Parisians have been partying all night in superior fashion since Maxim’s during the Belle Epoque, and today such a place is still a happening spot. La vie nocturne is another of the city’s greatest draws. There are swanky cabarets in Pigalle, caché cocktail bars in the 2nd arrondissement, and dancing discos off the Champs Élysées just to name a few…

Paris Rendezvous So how do Parisians hit the town? As for all good things in their life, they never rush. The night starts slowly with a rendez-vous at a friend’s apartment for a few glasses of champagne before heading out. But faites attention! Parisians are sure to drink in moderation to keep their chic and avoid committing any faux pas. Prime time for bars doesn’t even begin until the stroke of midnight, and around 2am the crowds migrate to clubs, or boîtes as the French say, for great music and dancing. My favorite night spot to dance until dawn is without a doubt Le Carmen. This fancy townhouse located in Paris’s 9th arrondissement, was once the home of the famous opera composer Georges Bizet. These nights, its ornate rococo interior has been repurposed as a chic club named after his most famous work, “Carmen”. With spectacular ambience, top shelf liquor and cocktails, and an impressive DJ lineup it’s my best tip for Parisian nightlife.

When it comes to the dress code, one can never be overdressed for a night out in the City of Light. Don’t expect to get past any doorman here in sneakers. Women can’t go wrong with a pair of heels or some ultra-stylish flats to pair with their little black dress and a sultry shade of lipstick. For me as of late, the perfect complement to any evening attire is a fine misting of La Nuit Trésor. Lancôme’s elegant new take on Trésor is perfect for night time with its romantic and mysterious merging of rose and orchid into this sweet scent. It will surely be my fragrance of many memorable Parisian nights to come…

<![CDATA[Saint-Germain-des-Près: A Mini Guide]]>

I never shy away from a good excuse to explore another part of Paris. The release of the Sonia Rykiel x Lancôme collection put me in the mood to spend some time across the river in Saint-Germain-des-Près. This neighborhood in the heart of the Left Bank is both the home of the Sonia Rykiel brand and a huge inspiration behind the fashion house’s latest beauty collaboration with Lancôme.

Paris Rendezvous

As one of the most distinguished quartiers in Paris, it seems to have struck the perfect balance of sophistication and la vie bohême. Its two biggest draws are chic shopping and unrivaled café culture. Seeing as it is a must visit on a trip to Paris, I thought it might come in handy if I share my mini guide to this part of town if you ever happen to visit, and some history of my favorite places here for those who are just a little bit curious!


Café de Flore — A Parisian classic if there ever was one. A favorite of the fashion elite and intellectuals alike, it has managed to be a major tourist destination without losing its charm. On late nights I come by for a croque monsieur and, in the summer, cool off with one of their milkshakes.

Brasserie Lipp — This café has been a Parisian institution for over 130 years, with its rotating glass doors at the front. Famous writers and artists have long congregated here, like Hemingway, for the sake of mentioning another American in Paris. From escargots to baba au rhum, you can find all the French classics here.

Le Bonaparte — One of the most perfectly Parisian terraces to sit on with a refreshment, overlooking l’Église Saint-Germain and the beautiful square just in front, and the perfect place to people watch.

La Palette — Slightly harder to find than some other famous cafés in the neighborhood, but every bit as happening and worth trying. This is a sweet spot to spend summer nights sipping rosé or winter nights cozied up with a great bottle of red on a romantic date.

Le Relais de l’Entrecôte — Steak frites anyone? While slightly touristy, locals like this place too because frankly the only dish on their menu, steak frites, just can’t be beat!


Sonia Rykiel — I couldn't possibly leave this one off the list. Inside their flagship store, you won’t just find some amazing clothes and accessories but also a spectacular display of merchandising, as the interior has been transformed into a vintage library with more than 30,000 books lining the shelves.

Deyrolle — This amazing collection of taxidermy animal curiosities from around the globe is truly fascinating. Don’t despair! There, every single creature you will find within Deyrolle died of natural causes and is artistically preserved for those with acquired tastes to buy and admire forever.

Elbé — By chance, I stumbled upon this shop selling authentic vintage French posters and advertisements from the last one hundred years, and now a favorite address in Paris. There are some real treasures in here to be found.

Cire Trudon — Cire Trudon dates back to the French monarchy when they made candles for Versailles. Still in its original location, they are one of the most magnificent candlers in the world. They recently uncovered a plaque on the façade with Louis XIV’s “Sun King” emblem that was covered up during the revolution. Just one more bit of history to add to what you’ll already find within their Antiquaire de la Bougie mini candle museum.

Le Bon Marché — Le Bon Marché is one of the first department stores in the entire world, and still one of the best. It is home to perhaps the best and most extensive collection of clothes, shoes, makeup, and more - even food!

<![CDATA[A Picnic in Paris: Let Spring Shine]]>

I love Paris in the Spring time! ♫ Sing it with me! Yes I’m singing because the sun is shining on Paris and spring is here! I love how much life in the city differs each season. Paris has a different rhythm at each time of year as Parisians pick up their seasonal habits for enjoying the city.

When Spring gets in full swing you can count on me to throw the first Parisian picnic to get outside and soak up that sunshine we all love and miss so much in winter. Paris RendezvousWith acres of gorgeous parks across our city, it’s not easy to choose where to spread out the inaugural picnic. The Buttes- Chaumont in the 19ème? The Jardin du Luxembourg in the Latin Quarter? How about right down the street from my home in the Marais at the Place de Vosges.

Now it wouldn’t be a proper parisian pique-nique without some local essentials. If you want to picnic like a Parisian wherever you are this spring here are all the ingredients you’ll need...

Parisian “Pique-nique” Essentials

• Baguette sandwiches — fresh from your local French bakery or homemade.
• Cornichons — those cute tiny little French pickles perfect for savory snacking.
• Rosé — nicely chilled and the perfect shade of pink.
• Fresh fruit — a nice light lunchtime dessert as the French are all about seasonal produce.

And how about my beauty essential for this perfect day of spring sunshine? Lancôme’s new Shine Lover vibrant shine lipstick! This bright range of lipsticks has Rose de Muscat Oil to hydrate, rejuvenate, and smooth lips in a formula that melts on your lips for an easy, emollient finish. Yet another shining reason to keep me smiling all afternoon!

<![CDATA[It's Christmas Once Again in Paris]]>

Growing up, the local news station in my hometown had a little Christmas jingle that would play over and over again. ...It’s Christmas once again in Santa Barbara... My family would always sing along, and each year at this time I still find it popping into my head, humming it as I go about my day. Eight years on the other side of the world in France and I guess some things will never change. By now though, I have managed to make some Paris holiday traditions as well, like cozying up in my favorite places across the city with friends to share a holiday hot chocolate and exchange gifts. Of course, another one includes bundling up for a stroll to see all the holiday lights and window displays making the city festive this season. And after three years of Paris Rendez-Vous now, another one of my traditions is to share a glimpse of it all for you here in my annual holiday post.

Paris Rendezvous

I’ve said it once and I will say it again, the holidays in Paris are truly a magical time. The City of Light is taken to a whole new level with twinkling lights overhead lining the charming cobblestone streets, the sapins de Noël (christmas trees) adorning landmarks, and the holiday markets on the Champs Elysées. I am especially nostalgic for Paris at this time as my second trip here was during the holiday season. I think it may have been that moment that I fell most in love with the French capital and decided to move and make a life here. I’m reminded of what that felt like each time when the weather gets cold, the lights go up, and the holiday spirit is floating around.

Everywhere you go that cozy festive feeling envelopes you and I’m soaking up every minute of it before I head back to the States to spend Christmas with my family. My first stop is always the breathtaking Place Vendôme to see how they have decorated the jewellery shops and hotels that line it. The Cartier building this year is wrapped in a giant twinkling red bow, and inside the newly reopened Ritz is their dazzling Christmas tree! Not far away at the historic grand department stores, the shop windows are animated with miniature winter wonderland scenes of Paris and snowy villages that passersby stop to marvel at.

Just inside here at the Galeries Lafayette is perhaps the biggest Christmas tree in all of Paris, standing at almost three stories tall! At its base you’ll find the Lancôme cosmetics counter in fact, all decorated for the season itself with the Paris en Rôse collection and more. If you walk past the giant ferris wheel at Place de la Concorde and up to Avenue Montaigne, the Hotel Plaza Athenée has installed the world’s cutest little iceskating rink in their courtyard for guests to enjoy. Of course, in the heart of Paris in front of the famous Notre Dame, there is another massive christmas tree that gives Galeries Lafayette’s a run for its money. Across the way on the Left Bank at the Bon Marché, there are snowflakes suspended from the ceiling indoors creating a magic snowing effect for busy shoppers working through their Christmas lists.

And of course, if you haven’t yet gotten through your list, remember there are gifts galore from Lancôme for any woman in your life — a few last minute ideas, perfectly paired gift sets, stocking stuffers and more, each with a bit of the Parisian Holiday spirit I’m enjoying so much this time of year of course!

<![CDATA[The Parisian Kitchen: Rendez-vous With Chef Bénédicte Mesny]]>

It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is here already. This distinctly American holiday is celebrated by most American expats I know in Paris, and Parisian friends are typically keen to join in. Particularly this week as the city of Paris is trying to get back to normal life after recent events. We are all counting our blessings and looking for reasons to be thankful. So in the spirit of gathering friends around food, I met up with Bénédicte Mesny, the founder of The Parisian Kitchen.

Paris Rendezvous

Bénédicte is a natural beauty and a young mother of two, and after spending her twenties in the corporate sphere, she wanted a change and a day-to-day life more flexible for her family. Bénédicte’s first love is cooking, which she has combined with her business smarts to launch her culinary classes out of her family apartment in the chic 17th arrondissement.

The kitchen has always been a central place in Bénédicte’s life. This born and bred Parisian has been cooking since she was a little girl, learning a long list of family recipes as she cooked alongside her mother. Today her business is all about opening her own kitchen to visitors, to pass on those precious French recipes through her cooking classes.

Her Lunchtime Experience brings guests on a visit to the typical Parisian market, Marché de Lévis, which is one of the most famous food markets in the capital. After sourcing fresh ingredients together, Bénédicte gives a two hour interactive cooking course to prepare one of her favorite three course meals before the group digs in to enjoy the fruits of their labor over a friendly lunch. She also offers a pastry class, where guests can choose between an array of sweet family recipes to try their hand at.

For our rendez-vous, I asked if Bénédicte would teach me a festive and easy French holiday recipe. So many of us will be hosting between this week and the end of the year, and this simple but beautiful recipe for Bénédicte’s charlotte aux fruits rouges will be the perfect French touch for your holiday party.

And in the spirit of giving, I shared some things with Bénédicte too. My favorite Lancôme products for the holidays! I asked Bénédicte about her own beauty routine as a mom. For her, skincare is paramount in achieving that gorgeous complexion, which she likes to let show through a sheer foundation and a subtle blush. A natural beauty approach I am sure she will pass on her to own daughter along with her delicious family recipes…

If you’d like to give her Charlotte Aux Fruits Rouges recipe a try you can find it HERE!

<![CDATA[Visit French Wine: A Summer Escape From Paris]]>

One of my favorite things to do in Paris is visit my neighborhood wine shop, or cave à vins as we call it, to discover new wines for specific occasions. Perhaps a meal I’m preparing, a friend I’m visiting, a special gift for someone. Parisians take selecting wine very seriously, but also with great pleasure because wine in a way is the story of France itself.

Paris Rendezvous

In fact, French wines are the only ones to be named not for their variety of grape but instead for their region of origin. Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne and so on…these wines are all regions in France. The list goes on. Through wine we can taste the rich culture of the country and often what distinguishes each region. Our wine is rooted in so many of the things that make France great: the terroir, gastronomy, savoir faire, and joie de vivre.

With summer upon us, it’s high time for travel in France, and when I received an invitation from the local tourism board for a several day excursion to visit French wine, I immediately accepted. I packed my bags with my Lancôme 2016 Summer Color Collection in tow, it was just the warm look I needed for my sunny journey south. I boarded a train from the Gare de Montparnasse and my little trip took me to a region called Gaillac where grapes have been cultivated for the last 3,000 years!

Whether it’s the science of cosmetics or the savoir faire of wine, I just love learning how things are made. For three days I had the pleasure of talking to wine makers, walking their vineyards, and tasting their Gaillacois wines. I learned about how different soil suits different varieties of grapes, and how most of what goes into making a wine takes place in the vines, a year round dedication to tending to their vineyard to obtain the best harvest. But every single step of the process is important, from selecting which grapes to blend, which barrel to age them in, how long to let them distill, the shape of the bottle, the style of the label, and so on and so on. This entire region is blanketed in vineyards and scattered with beautiful historic hilltop villages worth visiting, as well to take in the view from above.

Wine is an industry that has long been dominated by men who historically continued these family businesses. But more and more, we, as women, are making our place in it as analogues, sommeliers, and winemakers themselves. In Gaillac there is now an association of female winemakers who have together set out to restore many of the historical structures in old vineyards and bring new methods to the region.

So whether you’re tasting French wine at home, enjoying some at a café in Paris, or visiting French wineries in person, to appreciate French wine is to appreciate France itself. What a wonderful and delicious way to discover the country Lancôme calls home.

<![CDATA[Ma Vie Quotidienne: Life is beautiful in Paris]]>

“What is it like living in Paris?” I’m often asked this by new acquaintances on my travels. Moving abroad can begin as a strange and overwhelming experience. In a new country, it may seem as though everything is different. Inevitably though, we begin to settle in and call it home.

But what makes a place our home? Is it where friends and family are never far? Is it where surroundings feel safe and familiar? Or is it simply where our mail goes and our Wi-Fi connects automatically? Only you can answer that for yourself.

Paris RendezvousFor me, it’s the little things. My daily life, or ma vie quotidienne as we say in French, that make me feel most at home in Paris. Like knowing nearly every street name as I walk across the Right Bank, which shop to browse in Saint Germain for the perfect summer dress, or where to find the best baguette near Canal Saint Martin. These are the things that make me feel like a local, like day in and day out that Paris is my home. In fact, the last couple months I’ve been hard at work on a guide book featuring all of my favorite local spots for such things, and my daily life has played out much like this…

I charge my batteries each morning while sipping on a cup of tea, then pack my bag for a full day out with a few beauty essentials. The city is simultaneously my office and my muse, as I run about town snapping scenic photos between rendezvous with press contacts or small business owners whose shops, restaurants, galleries and more I chose to feature. I may have as many as five to photograph in a day, but in Paris we always make time for a friendly conversation, and for me, to commute everywhere on foot. It’s an essential part of my daily life to see and get inspired, and to burn off those croissant calories. In between, I stop into my favorite cafes and coffee shops to refuel and open my laptop to write a few pages. After a couple of months like this six days a week…voilà! My book is done.

La vie est belle in Paris, most of all when the fruits of our labor pay off. And so now, after nearly two years of sharing some of my best address in the city with you here, you can own some of those and many more in paperback with my local guidebook The HUNT Paris! It features nearly 150 of my favorite places, for eating, drinking, shopping, strolling and more. Happy exploring…

<![CDATA[The Spooky Guide to Paris]]>

Halloween is here and I, for one, am very happy about that! Not only do I love the colors of the autumn season and the brisk air that comes with it, but I also happen to love a good fright and an epic Halloween costume. Halloween isn’t a well celebrated holiday in France, although it gets more and more popular every year. That doesn’t stop me from getting in the spooky spirit though with friends who love to dress up and a few Paris Halloween traditions of my own.

Paris Rendezvous

Each October I visit my favorite places I’ve discovered in Paris over the years that put me in the Halloween mood. It’s my own personal Spooky Guide to Paris that I thought I would share with you. If you don’t feel up for a fright then don’t worry, most of these places are beautiful and historic stops in the city worth visiting regardless. You’ll leave with your wits about you, but if you have a bit of an imagination and a taste for the terrifying around Halloween like myself, you’ll enjoy the eerie feeling lingering around these potentially haunted places this time of year. Let’s take a little tour together here...

The Catacombs

Sometimes called The City of the Dead, the Catacombs are winding underground roads lurking below Paris filled with the bones of over six million people that have gone before us. Finding enough space for graves within and around Paris became a serious problem in the late 1700’s. Eventually bones excavated from the cemeteries were relocated underground. One could never know this dark damp underworld lies beneath Paris unless they have passed through the "Barrière d’Enfer” (Gate of Hell) on Rue de la Tombe-Issoire and into the Catacombs. While spooky, it’s also an incredible historical monument classified as a museum and visited by hundreds of thousands every year.

The Vampire Museum

Behind a little red door on the outskirts of Paris is an entire little museum dedicated to the history of vampires. Visits are by appointment only, but if you’re a fan of vampires and their mythology, you will devour this eerie collection of curiosities and literature on the blood sucking sub human species.

The History of Medicine Museum

Musée d’histoire de la médecine is a wonderful little museum that is relatively unknown. It’s a journey through strange and sometimes terrifying medical practices of centuries past. Filling the glass cases are creepy diagrams and frightening antique medical apparatuses that make brave visitors cringe. One can almost here the echoes of the mad doctors and strange science experiments that might have once filled the halls here.

Cemeteries of Paris

Call me strange but when I travel I love to visit old cemeteries. The three main cemeteries in Paris are all beautiful, paved in cobblestone and this time of year, lined with trees changing color to orange, red and yellow. Try the Montmartre Cemetery and you might have a run in with the ghosts of Alexandre Dumas and Edgar Dugas who are buried here, or with Oscar Wilde, for example, on the other side of town at the Père Lachaise Cemetery. Lastly, if you’ve visited the Catacombs, the Montparnasse Cemetery is just next door.

Le Manoir de Paris

If you’re really in for a fright and feeling brave, visit Le Manoir de Paris for an animated haunted house experience. Created in an old abandoned ceramics workshop in the 10th district of Paris, you never know what lurks around the corner here. It’s a fun way to have a fright night with friends around Halloween.

<![CDATA[Get in the Spirit! - Bastille Day Beauty]]>

National spirit has been off the charts in France as of late! It seems everywhere you go the flag is flying high. Bastille Day last weekend brought every one out in blue, white, and red to celebrate. The 14 juillet is France’s National Day, chosen to commemorate the turning point of the French Revolution that lead to the founding of the modern French republic. Much like the 4th of July in the United States, Bastille Day takes place in the height of summer and is the perfect occasion for parties, picnics, barbecues, and of course fireworks from the Arc de Triumph to The Eiffel Tower!

Paris Rendezvous

But Bastille Day isn’t the only thing that’s got French National Pride flying high. If you haven’t heard, we won The World Cup of soccer for the first time in twenty year last Sunday, the day after Bastille Day! After Saturday’s Bastille Day festivities, the city kept the blue, white, and red on full display for an even bigger celebration that has come around only once every twenty years, our World Cup Win!

If you think the 14th of July is a date do go down in history for the French, then mention 1998 to a French soccer fan and you’ll get ten times the enthusiasm! I never knew the country was so nostalgic for our first World Cup win twenty years ago. Since last Tuesday when the French National team won the second to last match and sent us on our way to the final, the energy around Paris in particular has been one of excitement and unity.

And then this Sunday all of the dreams of young and old and men and women alike came true…we won the World Cup victory! As the clock counted down and we knew our competitors in those final seconds could not overtake our four goals, the crowd went wild. Business as usual in the city came to a complete halt as cheers and people filled the streets hugging and crying and singing On est les champions! We are the champions! Flag flew out from every window, fireworks went off, and scooters went racing down the streets singing the national anthem!

Like 1998, this is truly a moment to go down in history, and one that I was so excited to experience here in my chosen country! With extreme pride for our team, we welcomed them home from Russia on Monday with open arms and yet another parade down the Champs Elysees to welcome them to the presidential palace where they were congratulated by the president.

Between Bastille Day and World Cup Finale, I admit most French are wearing blue white and red face paint in stripes across their cheeks! But might I recommend some more chic French makeup essentials if you want to get into the national French spirit along with us, like the perfect red L’Absolu Rouge or Le Teint Macaron for example. I can assure you my Monsieur Big Waterproof also came in handy Sunday when we all cried tears of joy! Vive la France!

<![CDATA["An Antique Table"]]>

After sharing some of my tips for being the perfect Parisian hostess on our last Paris Rendez-vous, I thought you might be ready to do some entertaining à la française of your own! For your next soiree, check out some amazing dinner party recipes I've handpicked to share with you from Gourmet Magazine. Bon appétit!

In Paris, flea-market vendors pull up Louis XIV chairs and break for a midday meal, honoring a tradition as old as their wares. The oh-so-French spirit of putting lunch before work inspires these classic dishes updated with a global flair.

Butternut Squash Soup with Chestnuts
Serves 6 (first course)
Active time: 35 min Start to finish: 1 hr

While eating at one of the coveted counter seats at Les Cocottes, Christian Constant’s chic restaurant, food editor Paul Grimes was deeply inspired by the pumpkin soup, which surprised him with savory little chunks of foie gras waiting at the bottom of the bowl. Here, Grimes explores squash’s more savory side by cooking it with a touch of tomato and providing that little bit of sweet surprise in the form of chopped chestnut. With just a dollop of whipped cream, it is rich only in looks and spirit—a spoonful will reveal how unbelievably light it is.

4 large shallots, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
3 large thyme sprigs
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1½ lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into
(1-inch) cubes (about 3½ cups)
5 cups water
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
12 bottled cooked chestnuts, chopped (½ cup)
Accompaniment: softly whipped cream

- Cook shallots, carrot, celery, tomatoes, thyme and bay leaf in oil in a 4- to 5-qt heavy pot over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes.
- Add squash, water, nutmeg, 1 tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper and simmer, covered, until squash is very tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard thyme and bay leaf.
- Purée soup in batches in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Thin soup if desired and season with salt and pepper.
- Ladle soup over chestnuts in bowls.
Cooks’ note: Soup can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered once cool. Thin slightly with water if necessary.

Watercress and Frisée Salad with Green Apple and Celery Root
Serves 6 (first course)
Active time: 25 min Start to finish: 25 min

After a rich main course, you’ll love the clean flavors of this minimally dressed salad. Watercress and frisée are tamed by slivers of celery root and green apple, which also makes for a seamless segue into the next course—Camembert with apple butter from a local market.

6 oz watercress, coarse stems discarded (6 cups)
¼ lb frisée (French curly endive), torn into 2-inch pieces (4 cups)
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
2 tsp finely chopped shallot
1 Granny Smith apple
½ medium celery root (½ lb), peeled
Equipment: an adjustable-blade slicer fitted with an 1/8-inch julienne blade

- Put watercress and frisée in a large serving bowl.
- Whisk together oil, vinegar, shallot, ¼ tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper in a small bowl.
- Julienne apple lengthwise using slicer until you reach core, then rotate and continue. Add to greens. Julienne celery root and add to greens.
- Toss salad with vinaigrette and salt and pepper to taste.

Chocolate-glazed Chocolate Tart
Serves 8 to 10
Active time: 30 min Start to finish: 2¾ hr (includes cooling)

A triple layer of crumbly crust, a truffle-like interior, and an almost patent-leather-shiny glaze make this tart the chicest take on chocolate we’ve come across in a long time.

For crust:
9 (5- by 2¼-inch) chocolate graham crackers (not chocolate-covered), finely ground (1 cup)
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
For filling:
1¼ cups heavy cream
9 oz bittersweet chocolate (not more than 65% cacao if marked), chopped
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
For glaze:
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1 ¾ oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp light corn syrup
1 Tbsp warm water
Equipment: a 9-inch round fluted tart pan (1 inch deep) with removable bottom

Make crust: Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
- Stir together all ingredients and press evenly onto bottom and ¾ inch up side of tart pan. Bake until firm, about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack 15 to 20 minutes.
Make filling: Bring cream to a boil, then pour over chocolate in a bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Gently stir until smooth. Whisk together eggs, vanilla and salt in another bowl, then stir into melted chocolate.
- Pour filling into cooled crust. Bake until filling is set about 3 inches from edge but center is still wobbly, 20 to 25 minutes. (Center will continue to set as tart cools.) Cool completely in pan on rack, about 1 hour.
Make glaze: Bring cream to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until smooth. Stir in corn syrup, then warm water.
- Pour glaze onto tart, then tilt and rotate tart so glaze coats top evenly. Let stand until glaze is set, about 1 hour.
Cooks’ note: Tart is best the day it is made but can be made, without glaze, 1 day ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before glazing.

Scarlet Poached Pears
Serves 6
Active time: 20 min Start to finish: 1½ hr

Though poaching pears in wine often results in a subtle, sophisticated dessert, it rarely looks as lovely as it tastes. Here, Grimes took inspiration from the saturated-red glassware that’s ubiquitous in Parisian flea markets and from a dessert at Le Chateaubriand, which uses beet to give the pears a lush garnet hue. As far as its flavor goes, the beet doesn’t lend anything more than a nice balance to the overall dish, but you’ll probably want to poach pears this way from now on.

2 cups Orange Muscat such as Essencia (from a 750-ml bottle)
1 medium red beet (¼ lb), peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
3 small firm-ripe pears (¾ to 1 lb total), such as Forelle, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cored

- Bring wine, beet, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and bay leaves to a boil in a 1½- to 2-qt saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
- Add pears and cover with a round of parchment paper. Simmer, turning occasionally, until pears are tender and liquid is syrupy, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer pears to a bowl. Discard cinnamon stick and bay leaves and pour syrup over pears. Cool completely in syrup, about 30 minutes.
Cooks’ note: Poached pears can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Reprinted with permission from Gourmet: “An Antique Table”

<![CDATA[Piscine Molitor: Swimming in Paris’s Historic Pool]]>

I have long been fascinated by the Piscine Molitor in the west of Paris. In 1929 this gorgeous swimming complex opened to the public in an inauguration ceremony with Olympic swimmer Aileen Riggin and Johny Weissmuller. Its Art Deco design proved Parisians do everything in style, even aquatics. Hundreds of private cabins for guests and members lined three balconied levels overlooking its two pools: the winter basin indoors and the summer basin in open air. Piscine Molitor quickly become a hot spot for sport and leisure alike. In summer the crowds flocked here to beat the heat, and in winter the pool was turned into a beloved ice rink for skating. Perhaps the most famous moment here was the day designer Louis Réard revealed the bikini to the world for the first time in 1946, making history right here at Piscine Molitor. From its opening, thirty years of splendor brought life to the Molitor year round.

Paris Rendezvous

But in the late 1980’s the pool began to fall into disrepair. The glory days were fading away, and due to budget constraints, Molitor was closed permanently in 1989. The complex stood completely abandoned for a while, but before long evolved into a squat for subculture. Its walls were covered in graffiti, the empty pools repurposed as makeshift skateparks, and the balconies as bleachers for impromptu grunge concerts. But for the most part, life at Molitor was dormant for twenty odd years as it awaited its renaissance.

At last, in 2014 Piscine Molitor was finally reborn in Paris. After a massive renovation, it has been restored to its original Art Deco glamour. Today the pool functions mostly as a private club, but offers glamorous public swim sessions to small groups topped off with breakfast or lunch from one of its delicious eateries. The surrounding Hotel Molitor also welcomes its guests to the facilities. Since its reopening last year, it has been a dream of mine to spend a day here, swimming in its waters on a hot summer day in Paris! So I finally booked myself a little staycation at the hotel this past weekend and dove right into the famous pools!

It was the ideal opportunity to play out the final days of summer, and use up the last of my Lancôme summer color collection. A few pool proof beauty necessities came in handy too, like my go to Définicils Waterproof Mascara and Le Stylo Waterproof in Marine Chic. It was the perfect Parisian day at the pool and a dream come true I wanted to share with you. I hope if you grace Paris with your presence in summer you too will consider a dip at the Piscine Molitor!

<![CDATA[Paris: Outdoor spaces to enjoy in any season…]]>

The first time I visited Paris, I was asleep. I was also only 7, but you might still wonder how that’s so. It was mostly planes, trains, and automobiles getting there and finally a big bus, which, for a tiny tourist like me at the time, was the perfect place for a nap.

As we passed Notre Dame, I opened my eyes only for a minute and felt so lost. But on my second visit just before my 19th birthday, everything changed. No longer behind a glass window, in those late May days it was like the city opened up to me. I had no guide, just my feet and curiosity, and I haven’t stopped since. Some of those earliest places have now become habits, running back to them at first chance whenever I return home to the city after being away. Each time I see Paris all over again like I did that May. So, in honor of wonderful second impressions, let me share some of them with you…

A place for the chic and intellectual between the fashionable Saint Germain and Les Grandes Ecoles of the Latin Quarter…
WHAT TO DO: Stroll and people-watch stylish wanderers, or seek solitude for reflection in its quiet corners. France’s most famous scholars, such as Sartre and Camus were known to spend time here doing just the same from its iconic green chairs.
WHAT TO BRING: A fascinating book & your own journal for when you feel inspired.
WHAT TO WEAR: A colorful coat & a chic shade of lipstick.


A haven on the edge of the city for Paris’ bohemian at heart…
WHAT TO DO: Enjoy the season in nature and a view from the park’s sprawling hills and trails throughout. Later on before heading home, stop into Rosa Bonheur, the park’s kitsch café, for a snack, cup of tea and making new friends.
WHAT TO BRING: Your camera & your best friends.
WHAT TO WEAR: A flowing dress & moisturizer with a hint of SPF.

A paved path through the heart of the capital to stretch your legs and sight-see each Sunday…
WHAT TO DO: Walk or bicycle and just take in all the beauty of Paris along the way. Stop to sit along the riverbank and enjoy watching the passing boats.
WHAT TO BRING: Your best new playlist for listening & a guidebook to follow along with.
WHAT TO WEAR: Flat shoes for smooth sailing & a memorable fragrance.

<![CDATA[NUIT BLANCHE: Up All Night In Paris for the Annual White Night]]>

Normally I would advise you all to be in bed by midnight. Beauty sleep is so essential to looking and feeling good. But now and then it’s okay to break our beauty rules, and the annual Nuit Blanche is the perfect occasion!

Paris Rendez-vous

Once a year, on the first Saturday of October, the city stays up all night. This cultural celebration delights Parisians until dawn as each arrondissement organizes special events like street music, outdoor movie projections, and exhibitions welcoming us to enjoy our city after dark. Best of all, the de facto gallery that the city center becomes is free for everyone! Nuit Blanche translates to “white night”, and more than ever on this Saturday, Paris earns its title as the City of Lights. The lights stay on all night, and glowing installations go up all over Paris to light our way as we explore all the after hours offerings. On this night we gather our friends, lose track of time, and live it up all night long.

While Nuit Blanche is very much about showing the city off in new ways, I’m a sucker for little traditions. The city’s museums stay open late into the night with free admission, so I always visit the Louvre. It’s exciting to discover new corners of this massive institution that one can only come to know well after many visits throughout the years. From there, it’s onward to see what surprises the city has illuminated for us.

This year, Lancôme gave me a few tips for gorgeous midnight makeup that will stay on until sunrise…

La Base Pro Hydra Glow as a primer illuminates and hydrates skin with extended 24H effects
beneath your foundation.
Teint Idole Ultra 24H is the perfect foundation for a lasting flawless complexion that won’t
wear off.
Color Design 5 Pan Eyeshadow Palette allows you to create the perfect smokey eye for any
night out.
Hypnôse Star 24H Waterproof mascara gives you ultra voluminous lashes and stays on all

Want to experience Nuit Blanche for yourself? While it began in Paris over twelve years ago, this recent French tradition has spread to cities big and small across the world! New York City, Toronto, Madrid, and Rome are just a few of them. Be sure to see if this October there is a Nuit Blanche near you!

<![CDATA[PRINCESS FOR A DAY: A Visit to Versailles]]>

What would it be like to be a princess for a day? A little trip to Versailles just outside of Paris may be the closest a girl can get. Walking through the great hall of mirrors, beneath its dozen crystal chandeliers, I look out the window over the grounds of this great palace. I pause a moment each time and wonder what it would have been like to call Versailles home, to live a life of leisure here as the most famous princess of all, Marie Antoinette...

Marie Antoinette came to Versailles at the age of fifteen. She was married to Louis XVI, becoming the Dauphine of France while just a young girl. She was fair skinned, tall, and slender, with straw blond hair. Her beauty and friendliness made her initially popular with the French. But her charm was not enough to make life at Versailles easy for the princess. Political obligations and the oppressive rules and procedures of the daily court took their toll on their princess’ youthful spirit. So she sought refuge beyond the walls of the main palace. Which leads us to my favorite part of Versailles...La Domaine de Marie Antoinette.

A few kilometres through the forest, we find a more dainty palace bestowed upon the princess soon to become queen — Le Petit Trianon. Here Marie Antoinette’s extravagance would have free reign, filling the rooms with plush Louis XVI furniture upholstered in pastel silks, and hosting parties for ladies in waiting and foreign friends. On the surrounding land she constructed a hamlet as a home for the many animals she adored. Today it seems virtually unchanged, perhaps just the laughter of her children and many visitors missing. As for the rest, the animals still roam the garden, the furniture still sits in its place, and the princess herself still reigns over her domain from the famous portrait of her hanging in the upstairs salon.

Paris Rendezvous

All did not end as well as it began for Marie Antoinette as the French Revolution vacated the throne and threw the country into turmoil. But Marie’s years at Versailles as both princess and queen must have been spectacular in all their decadence.

I returned home from Versailles that evening feeling inspired from my little day trip. I indulged in a relaxing bubble bath followed by some luxurious cosmetics like Tonique Confort to spoil my skin, before lying down for some beauty rest on my silk pillow case. While we may not be princesses, I see no reason why we can’t pamper ourselves like one now and then...

<![CDATA[French Faux Pas: Cultural No-Nos in France]]>

The phrase faux pas literally translates to a false step, but the French expression has been widely adopted by the English language to be known as something one shouldn’t do. In France, knowing what faux pas to avoid can make or break being accepted into a family, a group of friends, or a company. Should you find yourself in France or amongst the French, or looking to polish your etiquette à la française, here are my top ten you should try to avoid…

Paris Rendezvous

1. Don’t smile at strangers on the street — Smiling at random people is considered odd and interpreted to be a deliberate invitation to engage in conversation. Thus doing so can often send the wrong message, inviting unwanted interaction and awkward situations.

2. Don’t wear too much makeup — In France, wearing too much makeup can be interpreted as vulgar and in bad taste. Sophisticated French women have told me those who wear too much makeup can be regarded as low class. Here, it’s better to focus on one part of the face you really want to highlight versus all of them at once, and go easy on your foundation with something light like Miracle Cushion.

3. Don’t discuss money — Discussing money is generally seen as very rude in France. But if you must, apologize prior to bringing it up.

4. Don’t talk about politics in public — In France we leave debates to the pros. Instead people keep their political opinions between them and their newspaper. This topic should be avoided most of all at the dinner table.

5. Don’t ask for a doggie bag at a restaurant — In the event you find yourself with leftovers, don’t ask for a doggy bag. While some French waiters may oblige, it's locally considered a tacky and strange thing that the French themselves would never do.

6. Don’t touch the produce at the market — At fruit and vegetable stands in France, it is a no no to poke and prod produce. In fact, it is often customary to not serve yourself at all. Vendors take great pride in their selection and will be happy to serve you.

7. Don’t cut your lettuce with a knife — This is considered bad table manners in France. If your lettuce is too big for one bite, you simply fold it instead.

8. Don’t turn up to a dinner party empty handed — French hosts are very polite, and will often tell you there’s no need to bring anything. But it’s always polite to grab an extra baguette or even some flowers to arrive with.

9. Don’t be overdressed — Arriving to an event overdressed implies that you are trying too hard to be liked. In France, it’s better to be under dressed than overdressed.

10. Don’t hug people you don’t know well — To the French, hugging is considered an extremely intimate act. Instead we employ the double kiss on the cheek.

<![CDATA[The Belle Époque Guide to Paris]]>

The Belle Époque was a golden age of Europe at the end of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th. It was a time when before WWI, art, theatre, music, technology, economy, and thus life, thrived. It was characterized by optimism, celebration, and indulgence, and absolutely nowhere was this more evident than in Paris, the epicenter of this golden age. Perhaps this atmosphere is best illustrated in the paintings of Renoir from the time. Oh how I would have loved to see Paris in this era!

Paris Rendezvous

Today it’s as vibrant as ever, but the memory of this especially spectacular moment in Paris's rich history lives on through some of its most historic institutions and iconic architecture. The Art Nouveau movement that perhaps most visually characterized the Belle Époque gave us so many of the city’s ornate fixtures, historic cafés, outdoor artworks, and architectural masterpieces. If like me you love to see cities through the lens of a century past, here is a mini guide to some of my Belle Époque favorites in Paris where this fantastic era still lives on!

Maxime’s — This legendary brasserie is alive and well today. During the Belle Époque it was the hot spot to dine and dance, entertaining so many of the city’s most noteworthy residents and visitors alike. The clientele today is new but the decor inside is still adorned in its original Art Nouveau details, and after all these years it’s still one of the hippest places in Paris for a night out!

Le Bofinger — If I’ve got something to celebrate, I love to go to this historic brasserie for oysters and champagne. Its beautiful stain glass dome ceiling lights the main dining room, and with its white tables cloths and impeccable service, it has an elegance reminiscent of centuries past.

Metro Abbesses — Yes, even in Paris the subway stations are a work of art! The beautiful and iconic entries to the underground were created by the famous artist Hector Guimard himself. They have undoubtedly become a symbol of Paris. One of the most beautiful can be found in Montmartre at the stop Abbesses.

Le Petit Zinc — The famous façade of Le Petit Zinc is also modeled in the style of Hector Guimard’s Parisian metros. Many stop to admire it while strolling Paris’s Left Bank. Those who choose to dine inside can indulge in its equally Art Nouveau interiors.

Closerie des Lilas — Also on the Left Bank, this historic restaurant was opened in 1847! Since then it was a hangout for famous artists and writers, like Rimbaud, Picasso, Hemmingway, and more. The restaurant and piano bar live on today in their original style and is still a beloved place for Parisians and visitors.

Galeries Lafayette — A must-visit shopping destination, Galeries Lafayette’s giant stain glass dome ceiling from the Belle Epoqué is a true masterpiece of the era’s architecture. The cafes on the top floors offer some of the best vantage points for taking in its details.

The Wallace Fountains — Wallace fountains are public drinking fountains that appear in the form of small cast-iron sculptures scattered throughout the city. A great aesthetic success, they are recognized worldwide as one of the symbols of Paris. A tiny detail but not to be overlooked!

<![CDATA[La Nuit des Musées]]>

There are few things more spectacular than watching a sunset over the Seine. Last Saturday I sat on the bridge between the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, taking in one of the most vibrant ones I’ve seen in a while. Orange, magenta, purple, and then blue…it was like Paris’s own masterpiece.

Paris Rendezvous

But this time of year the weather is warm and friendly, so the day doesn’t end when the sun goes down. One night each spring there is the annual La Nuit des Musées, where the city’s hundreds of museums stay open until midnight for visitors. I actually hadn’t even realized it was Museum Night in Paris until I found myself there watching that sunset and noticed a public service announcement about it on a small sign at the end of the bridge. Conveniently there I was, in between two of the greatest collections of masterpieces from the art world. One of the many perks of living in Paris I suppose…

So I made the most of it! Seeing Paris’s museums by night is a whole new way of visiting them. Something about it feels mysterious, like you’ve snuck in after hours on a caper. It certainly adds a sense of adventure to museum going. As you wind in and out of the halls of the Louvre, you can peer out on the City of Light at night and imagine what it might have been like to call this place home hundreds of years ago when it was the palace of the royal family. And by night across the river at the Musée d’Orsay you can peer through the clock tower for a spectacular view over the city, imagining what it might have been like to be a Parisian, arriving here on an evening train a hundred years ago when it was a train station.

But museums are changed by more than just the hours on this night. For La Nuit des Musées there are spectacles, performances, concerts, dancing, workshops, and more. On this night, Paris and France’s commitment to culture, new and old, converge in the city and it is truly a thing to see.

If you can’t make it to Paris on this one night a year, you may be pleased to know that almost every major museum in the French capital has one night a week that they call the nocturne. On these nights their doors are open late and sometimes entry is even free so that their collections can be enjoyed by all into the night. So on your next visit to Paris, be sure to check their schedule and you too can enjoy une nuit dans dans le musée.

<![CDATA[French Lesson - Terms of Endearment]]>

French is arguably the most romantic language of all. The pouting of the lips and the singsong rhythm of speech must have something to do with making it seem so sensual. Just in the nick of time for Valentine’s Day, I thought I would share with you another little French lesson here on Paris Rendez-Vous. It’s been a while since our last lesson, so I thought this week it would be fun for you to try some of these phrases out on someone you love!

Paris Rendezvous

Je t’aime → “I love you” pronounced like [juh-tem] can also mean “I like you” and is suitable for anyone you love romantically or otherwise

Je t’adore → “I adore you” pronounced like [juh-ta-door] is the perfect way to express your affinity for someone romantically or even in a friendship.

Mon petit chou → Literally translates to “my little cabbage” and is a lot like calling someone your honey pie, sweetie, or darling. You can also say mon chouchou.

Mon coeur → “My heart” pronounced like [moan ker] is one of the strongest terms of affection that should be reserved only for those in life you love the most, normally your significant other or a child.

Mon ange → “My angel” pronounced like [moan onge] is a sweet way to refer to someone who lights up your life, be it a friend or lover.

Je ne peux pas vivre sans toi → “I can't live without you” pronounced like [juh nuh pooh paw veev-ruh sonz twa] for those you need the most.

Tu es l’amour de ma vie → “You are the love of my life” pronounced like [too ā la more duh maw vee] for your one true love.

Je t’aime de tout mon coeur → “I love you with all my heart” pronounced like [juh-tem duh too moan ker] in case anyone should doubt how deep your love goes.

Embrasse-moi → “Kiss me” pronounced like [em-brass mwah] is demanding and sweet in that cute way only French women can seem to get away with.

Je pense à toi toujours → “I think of you always” pronounced like [juh ponce ah twah two joor] is a great way to hint to someone that you’re crushing on them or to let someone from your past know you still have feelings for them.

There are so many ways to say I love you and more in French that it’s no wonder it’s such a romantic language. And rest assured, the French are not shy about using them. Of course, last but not least, reserved for February 14th is “Joyeuse Saint-Valentin” which you can say to wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day in French! Ready to try out these French phrases? Don’t be shy. Make them sound and look extra sensual by wearing a bit of the new L’Absolu Rouge lipstick in your favourite shade of red (mine is Lie de Vin) as these sweet French phrases roll off your lips. Happy Valentine’s Day!

<![CDATA[The Great Debate: Ladurée vs. Pierre Hermé]]>

When my American friends come to Paris, I see it as my ambassadorial duty to show them the best the city has to offer. After seeing the usual landmarks, no visit to Paris is complete without a taste of a proper macaron.

Composed of a cream filling sandwiched between airy egg white- and- almond cookies, they come in a rainbow of flavors. Since the once Queen of France Catherine de’ Medici brought them to the empire from her native Italy, they have become a pop culture symbol of the country. Lesser known patisseries have managed to impress on occasion, but not all macarons are created equal. There are two household names that take the cake—, Ladurée and Pierre Hermé.

Ladurée is a legend in the business of sweet as well as savory. Its rococo decor is as decadent as its pastries and a landmark spot to sit, sip tea, and eat an array of photogenic and tasty treats. The macaron, however, is hands down their best seller, with an estimate of 15,000 flying out the door in pretty pastel boxes on any given day. To visit is to experience France as it may have once been, including its flavors that err on the side of tradition with raspberry, chocolate, lemon, and more.


While Ladurée is the predecessor, Pierre Hermé has a legacy of his own. The pastry chef comes from four generations of bakers and began his apprenticeship at the tender age of 14 with none other than chef pâtissier Gaston Lenôtre himself. After some time at Fauchon, luxury French caterer and boutique, Hermé he ended up at Ladurée before soon creating his own line of macarons. Surprisingly though, he began his brand in Japan, not France, as one would expect. Upon tasting them his macarons, one notices Hermé aims for such surprise, trying out uncommon combinations of flavors and incredibly original ingredients, such as foie gras, lychées, and truffles. He’s taken cues from the Japanese in his cuisine as well as décor, adopting a Zen-like simplicity for his boutiques that allow the senses to focus on taste.

If it’s a simple matter of taste for you, here’s a break down. Pierre Hermé is noticeably sweeter than Ladurée. While Hermé-interpreted treats are balanced by edgy flavors, some prefer the less daring taste of its rival. Ladurée’s fillings are often lighter jams and creams, while Hermé dishes up decadent white chocolate ganache as the base of his. As for the cookie, I find Ladurée crunchier and Pierre Hermé densely moist.

So, if “‘Ladurée or Pierre Hermé?’ ” is the question du jour, in rebuttle I ask, “‘Why should a girl have to choose?”’ Macarons are like makeup. Some days we’re in the mood for something classic and comfortable with tradition. Others days we desire surprise with something edgy and unexpected. The beauty is in the choice and to that I say bon appétit!

<![CDATA[Journées du Patrimoine : Peek Behind Paris’s Closed Doors]]>

There’s a peculiar thing I like to do in Paris. As I walk around, I peer up into the windows of apartments along the boulevards and wonder what beautiful spaces are hidden inside. Little glimpses of chandeliers, fireplaces, or art set off my imagination. Sometimes, I even run to catch a peek inside private courtyards before the doors close behind someone on their way out. Perhaps you’ll think I’m nosy. However, I fancy myself more of a Grace Kelly type in Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” — curious. Something tells me I’m not the only one.

Paris Rendezvous

So you won’t be surprised that I, and others like me, look forward to the semiannual Journées du Patrimoine in France. On these exceptional weekends, spectacular places across the country, normally closed to the general public, open their doors for what we call in French ouverture exceptionelle. The Journées du Patrimoine bring a sense of community and celebration of national history, heritage, and citizenship.

Last weekend I woke up early to take full advantage of exploring these otherwise off limits locations in Paris. I applied a bit of my new Teint Idole Ultra Cushion, Définicils, and L'Absolu Rouge and was out the door. I visited three new places in just one day and wondered, if these walls could talk, what would they say? Here are some stories I heard...

At the Villa des Arts in Montmartre, only forty or so artists lucky enough to call this place home have the key. Most are still unknown, but someday they may be household names like Cézanne, Dufy, or Signac, all of whom once worked and lived in the Villa des Arts since its construction in 1888. Passing through the entrée des artistes, an art deco staircase from the historic World Expo of 1900, joins the three floors of ateliers where artists work. One such painter let us inside his workshop, Didier Lambert, who has lived and worked at the Villa des Arts for more than 50 years!

Down the road, I was welcomed by La Sauvegarde de l’Art Français, whose offices are inside the apartments of Michel-Victor Cruchet. Cruchet is the most instrumental Rococo architect and decorator in French history. A master of the ornate moldings we sometimes call “wedding cake” interiors, he is responsible for some of the most beautiful rooms in France. Some of his greatest architectural achievements have been destroyed by time, and so his apartment here in the same style, perfectly preserved, serves as an important reference to historians for his body of work.

And in central Paris, I made one last stop at the Banque de France. The bankers and finance ministers were gone for the day, and as we passed through the meeting rooms and private offices of the Minister of the Treasury himself, I had to wonder what paramount economic decisions have been made here throughout the centuries. The bank’s “Hall of Mirrors” can be outdone only by Versailles, but the frescos are every bit as beautiful. The gold moldings here hint at a little secret I’ll let you in on. Somewhere in the bank is a secret passage leading to a vault beneath the Seine river where the entire gold reserves of France are kept and guarded. One can only wonder where exactly...

Now, as I walk past these otherwise secret places on an ordinary day, I know a little bit more about what lies inside. Paris is truly a museum though, and there is still so much to see and learn. That’s why I am already looking forward to the next Journées du Patrimoine.

<![CDATA[A Wedding in Paris: Rendez-Vous with Fête en France]]>

Ever wondered what it would be like to get married in Paris? Many couples make this dream a reality each year with a destination wedding in the city of lights. Whatever festivities they plan, Paris is sure to be a picture perfect backdrop. And when it comes to taking care of all the rest, there are wedding planners extraordinaire like the ladies at Fête en France.

To coincide with the release of Lancôme’s 2015 Bridal Collection, I met the gorgeous duo Anne and Nancy at Le Saint Régis cafe on Île Saint-Louis to talk Parisian weddings. Both American, about a decade ago they each relocated to Paris and teamed up to build their Parisian wedding planning business. They’re now the go-to-gals to plan the perfect Paris wedding and gave me some great insights about nuptials in the French capital…

Why do most of the couples you work with choose to get married in Paris?

Paris Rendezvous

“Often times the brides we work with are American and the groom is French, so Paris is a natural choice for their wedding. Other couples have a special connection with Paris. Either the first trip they took together as a couple was here, sometimes they even met here, or they got engaged here. Lastly, Paris is such a beautiful and romantic place, it's the perfect backdrop for any wedding whether it be a small elopement or large event.”

What are some Parisian wedding traditions?

“Often in France, the groom and his family are very involved in the planning of a wedding, unlike in the states. Since the French typically don’t have bachelor and bachelorettes parties, a lot of the fun family and friend humiliation will happen at the reception, with a funny slideshow or performance, especially from the groomsmen. Of course there is the question of the cake. A traditional French wedding cake is the croquembouche consisting of choux pastry balls piled into a cone and bound with threads of caramel. They’re spectacular!”

What are some of the most beautiful places to get married in Paris?

“There are so many choices, but definitely the private mansions. They have gorgeous ornate interiors and gardens. The famous five star hotels like the Hotel Crillon and The Ritz are popular venues as well. You can also get married in a gorgeous private chateau in the countryside near Paris.”

How do brides want their makeup to look on their wedding day?

“The best bridal makeup is timeless, soft, feminine and warm, just like the colours in the Lancôme bridal collection. It should be about highlighting the brides natural beauty. Of course, it’s important to remember that you need to stand out on camera, so you will probably end up wearing more makeup than usual. When doing your makeup on your wedding day, you can take it in phases. Start with less, and add more until you feel the look is just enough for the lens without being too much to the naked eye.”

<![CDATA[PARIS PASSAGES: Historical Precedents of the Modern Mall]]>

If there is a place that can ignite a person’s passion for history and architecture, it is Paris. History here is not the stuff of boring text books, it’s the city that lives and breaths around us each day telling stories of how they came to be.

Paris Rendezvous

If you’re wandering the streets of central Paris’s 1st and 2nd arrondissements, you are bound to stumble into one of the city’s passages. The old clock below the glass ceiling, still ticking, reminds you that despite appearances, time has not stopped here after all. The old tile floors of the narrow passageway are lined with shops and craftsmen’s ateliers, each one with their original wooden façades and glass street lamps. The passages are like a little maze of history you can walk through and see Paris of the past, yet somehow they go largely undiscovered by tourists. Some better known than others of course, each with their unique name, Passage des Panoramas, Passage Bourg L’abbé, Passage Brady, and so on…!

Paris’s passages, or arcades and galleries as we also call them, are the true precursors of the modern indoor mall. They were constructed in the early 18th century as places of commerce, covered by glass and iron roofs to shield pedestrians from the elements, but leaving each space bathed in a delicate light. A century later most of them had fallen into disrepair, all but forgotten as the commercial spaces competed with new large department stores. Luckily though, their charm endured and history and architecture lovers like myself restored them to their original glory, repopulating them with quirky little shops, booksellers, woodworkers, cafés, wine merchants and more.

I learned about the passages in my French history course at university here in Paris, but it took me some time to actually go and discover them. Now they are some of my favorite places to return to, wander, and discover. I wanted to share this little secret with you so if you make it to Paris you can experience them too, and of course be reminded that wherever we are, there are beautiful little corners of our cities worth revisiting and being inspired by every day…

<![CDATA[All Rivers Lead to Paris — Sail Through the Last Days of Summer]]>

It seems that stateside, Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer each year. A nice three day weekend and last hurrah to enjoy those long summers days of splashing around in the sun one more time. Over here in France too, we’re all settling back into life in Paris after vacations away. But being back in Paris doesn’t mean that my friends and I have given up on summer just yet. So we decided to ride out the last days of the season in style, on a boat, barefoot in bathing suits…full speed ahead!

Paris Rendezvous

If all roads lead to Rome, then it seems in France all rivers lead to Paris, and in and around the city the Seine River is one of the main attractions, dividing the French capital into the left and right bank. But it is no coincidence that they decided to build Paris around this water way. France has over 80 navigable rivers and canals, natural and man made. The country’s history of settlement and consolidation of the nation, as well as its industrial and economic development is owed greatly to its advanced waterways. The inland navigation first on these rivers and then on the canals were built over more than three centuries, from 1642 to 1966, to link up the rivers and thus create a network that means one can travel continuously all through France via our canals and rivers.

Nowadays they still serve their original purpose, to transport goods around the country and into Northern Europe. But France’s historic river and canal system is also a big draw for tourists from all over the world looking to sail these calm waters and take in the sites along the way. But locals like my friends and I are no exception, we too love to enjoy a peaceful afternoon floating and boating and it’s never been easier to do than with Marin d’eau Douce.

These eco friendly, electric and quiet boats are the easiest and dreamiest way to sail the canals and rivers that surround Paris. While you start just outside of the city, one can ride all the way into Paris as many people do. We set off in mid afternoon and took turns at the helm while the others dragged their feet in the water, swam, and took in the nature and architectural sites along the way.

Our day aboard was the perfect opportunity to use up some of my Lancôme summer favorites. Swimming with Monsieur Big Waterproof is worry free as this version of my favorite mascara never runs — sweat and swim resistant! And of course for a day on the boat you can’t forget your sunscreen. For my face, Skin Feels Good has been indispensable all summer long. For long sunny days it evens out my skin tone while letting it breathe, keeping it hydrated, and protecting it with SPF 23. It’s also easy to reapply throughout the day, no sponge or brush required! I don’t think I would have made it through summer to Labor Day without these beauty essentials, and they’ll be in my bag until summer is officially over! I hope you too will get out this Labor Day and enjoy the last days of summer as the perfect excuse to use up some of the last of your favorite summer beauty products!

<![CDATA[One Enchanted Evening: Lancôme’s Paris Press Event]]>

For the past several weeks there has been one particular rendezvous on my calendar that I was especially looking forward to. It’s not that often that I have such an invitation— the kind worth pulling out that special dress I’ve been saving and spending one hour on my makeup. It was the Lancôme press event in Paris and I knew that in true Lancôme style, it would be one very enchanted evening. And it was, certainly one worth sharing with you here.

Paris Rendezvous

The event was at one of the chicest addresses in Paris, the Hotel Salomon de Rothschild, a beautiful old mansion in the west of Paris. During Fashion Week, some of the most exclusive runway shows happen here, but this night the place belonged to us. As I arrived at twilight and passed through its grandiose gates, the building was glowing with pink light and bundles of bright roses aside the front door. Stepping inside was like arriving into the Lancôme universe, where stories around my favorite products were brought to life in every room.

Among some highlights of the night were actually some that I can’t share yet! But they involve exciting new product launches this spring that I’ll be sharing more of when the time comes. To give you a little teaser though, Lancôme skincare will be getting an exciting energy boost and in the makeup department they’re shaking things up in one of the most fun lip products I’ve ever seen!

What I can tell you though about this enchanted evening is that I had a few starstruck moments. I got to chat jetset beauty and finding your inner zen amongst the madness of life in your twenties and thirties with the beautiful Daria Werbowy, who has been one of the faces of Lancôme for as long as I can remember. Diving into the science of skincare and learning about the source of glowing skin with Lancôme’s head of skincare was truly fascinating. And then there was Lisa! The darling Lisa Eldridge who I have watched for so many years online and learned so much about makeup from was there in the flesh! It was honestly one of the most starstruck moments of my life testing new products with her. Her creativity and enthusiasm lit up the whole room!

This enchanted evening was truly a dream come true for me. As the night drew to a close, I sipped a farewell flute of champagne in the grand salon. Dangling above me were a hundred bottles of perfume suspended from the ceiling. I looked up and read the writing literally on the wall — “La Vie Est Belle”. Yes, it is...

<![CDATA[How to Flâner like the French]]>

When people ask me what I like to do in my free time in Paris, I have to think before I answer. My first response would be “what don’t I like to do in Paris? I like everything!” and more or less that is true. But when I think about how I regularly spend my free time, one French word in particular comes to mind — flâner.

Paris Rendezvous

I suppose in English the closest word to flâner that you could arrive at would be “stroll”. But as many people find with foreign languages, sometimes there isn’t a particular word equivalent that fully captures the intended sentiment.

The French dictionary defines the verb flâner as “to walk without haste in full abandonment to the spectacle of the moment, to linger in inactivity while in movement.” Would you expect anything less poetic from the French? To flâner is a truly French way of spending ones time, a way of going about your day and enjoying life at a peaceful pace while simply letting life happen and watching it delight you.

Sometimes you set out to flâner a bit to pass the time, and other times it just happens. Paris is a city made for flâneurs and flâneuses! Everywhere you go there are little shops to marvel at their window displays, parks to pass through, friends to cross paths with, strangers to meet, and beautiful details for your eyes to feast on.

Aside from setting out on foot, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to try to flâner like the French do. Give these a try and I think you’ll love incorporating this little French habit into your life…it is the perfect way to enjoy your city, get some exercise, and find inspiration!

Stay open minded — Talk to new people, visit different shops, turn unexpected corners. Keep an open mind and you never know what amazing things you will find!

Take the time — It is best to flâner with an abundance of time on your hands so you are free to pursue all that intrigues and inspires you while walking around your city. Never rush!

Travel light — The idea is to flâner footloose and fancy free, for you to be light in spirit and on your feet. So, don’t bog yourself down but carrying too many things with you.

Don’t look at the map — Follow only your heart and curiosity and you’ll see that with your eyes up, you’ll always find your way to new and wonderful things. It is not about going from Point A to Point B. Proverbially speaking, it is the journey and not the destination.

Wear comfy shoes — Comfy doesn’t have to mean ugly! There are many chic shoes in which you can walk miles and miles. Make sure to pick a pair that won’t have you turning back home because of a blister.

<![CDATA["Treasure Hunting: Editors’ Favorite Flea Markets"]]>

After introducing you to the joy of treasure hunting at Paris' brocantes and flea markets in my last post, I thought I would share with you Gourmet's favorite spots to do just that. Between the two of us, you'll know just where to look for that special souvenir.

Saturday through Monday
(More commonly known as Clignancourt, or simply as Les Puces. Note that there are a number of markets within Les Puces and numerous stands within each market.)
7 R. Jules-Vallès (Marché des Antiquaires); between Porte de St.-Ouen and Porte de Clignancourt, just outside the 18th.

At Marché Serpette (110 R. des Rosiers), I often frequent Le Monde du Voyage (Allée 3, Stand 15), where I rummage through a bin of old (mostly Hermès) scarves. If you have a bit more money, the vintage luggage—old steamer trunks, Hermès bags, pieces from Goyard—is wonderful. The stand doesn’t try to pass them off as new or never worn; they show the previous lives they have lived and are all the richer for it. —Amy Koblenzer

Paris Rendez-Vous

Françoise Schuler (Allée 1, Stand 33), at the Marché Vernaison (136 Ave. Michelet), has the most wonderful 18th- and 19th-century clothing, tablecloths and napkins. Everything is irresistible, and nothing was made later than 1930. —Ruth Reichl

Marie-Louise von Krusenstierna (first floor, Stand 195), at the Marché Dauphine (140 R. des Rosiers), is a fabulous vintage-photo dealer with very fair prices. At Nicole Aker’s Ma Maison (Stand 119), in the Marché Malassis (142 R. des Rosiers), the specialty is French housewares and kitchenware from the 1950s. It’s all reasonably priced and incredibly fun. —Alexander Lobrano

At the Marché Paul Bert (96 R. des Rosiers), you’ll find old cocoa and tea tins; boxy, crane-necked Jieldé architect’s lamps from the 1950s; cast-off school desks; and rusted, curlicued wrought-iron garden doors. The best deals are to be found at Le Passage (20 R. Jules-Vallès), which specializes in items (anything from wooden plane propellers to porcelain door knobs to 1970s psychedelic textiles) requiring serious refurbishment. —Marisa Robertson-Textor

Monday mornings at Clignancourt, everything is picked over, but it’s quiet, and I always find something that makes my heart sing. (Also, look in Pariscope for information on public brocantes , where there’s all sorts of sublime secondhand stuff.) —Jessica Harris

Monday through Sunday
R. du Marché-Popincourt, 11th.
There’s an area in the 11th, around the Rue du Marché-Popincourt, where a group of collectibles dealers sells all sorts of architectural stuff. —Kemp Minifie

Monday through Saturday
Place d’Aligre, 12th.
This is great in part because it’s so unlike Clignancourt: not fancy, more like a bunch of yard sales set up on tables. —K.M.

Saturday through Monday
Ave. de la Porte de Montreuil, 20th.
“Used” bikes tend to turn up here. —Kate Winslow

Saturday and Sunday
Ave. Georges-Lafenestre at Ave. Marc-Sangnier, 14th.
This market, where stalls and tables are simply set up on two intersecting streets, is especially good for glassware, crockery, porcelain and copper cookware, for linens—soft French tea towels, tablecloths—and for quirky things like tin canister sets and hooks and handles. The vendors aren’t necessarily the same on Saturday and Sunday, so you can go both days. —J.H.

Two weekends a year
Quai de la Loire, on the banks of the Bassin de la Villette, 19th.
This market, specializing in 20th-century furniture, clothing, and objets d’art , takes place two weekends a year, in May or June and October. Big-game hunters will find their Saarinen and Eames, but there’s something for everyone. A service ferries visitors up the Canal St.-Martin from La Bastille. —M.R.T.

Reprinted with permission from Gourmet: “An Antique Table”

<![CDATA[Perfect Paris Souvenirs]]>

Every time my father comes to visit me in France, he makes the same silly remark without fail: “I know why all women love Paris—there’s so much shopping!” He’s right, but by now after many Paris Rendez-Vous we all know there are so many more reasons to love this city, like macarons, flea markets and sense tied to memory. If you want a souvenir that can really bring you back to Paris, stop in to the Lancôme Institut and select one of our many fragrances. The olfactory experience will always remind you of your visit to Lancôme’s hometown.

<![CDATA[Beaujolais Nouveau: An Annual Celebration of One of France’s Most Famed Wines]]>

While back in the States everyone is gearing up for Thanksgiving, here in France we are celebrating a November tradition of our own — Beaujolais Nouveau Day! I can’t imagine anything more French than a national holiday for wine. On the third Thursday of every November, bottles across France are uncorked to celebrate the annual release of this celebrated wine.

Paris Rendezvous

In Paris, signs are up in the windows of every cafe announcing “The Beaujolais 2016 has arrived!” with special displays and tapped barrels serving up glasses for those taking part. But what’s so special about Beaujolais Nouveau? Beaujolais Nouveau is a very young wine. In fact, the grapes that make this wine were picked just six to nine weeks ago during the late summer harvest period each year. Most wines distill much longer, even years, but the Beaujolais Nouveau is fermented in a flash for just several weeks to produce a light and fruity young wine with a very specific taste. Such wines are called primeur wines and the Beaujolais is the most famous of its kind. It’s intended to be enjoyed quickly, within a few months of its release versus wines that are better kept for years on end.

Some wine snobs won’t go near the stuff, but most love taking part in the release of the Beaujolais, certainly because there is always hype and celebration around it. As a result it’s a hugely popular wine, not just here in France but abroad as well, as France exports millions of bottles of it each year at this time for it to be enjoyed by Beaujolais fans around the world. If you're curious to try, a good Beaujolais Nouveau should arrive soon to a good wine vendor near you.

There are very serious rules for when one can enjoy the Beaujolais Nouveau. Even if the bottles have arrived, it is strictly forbidden to sell or open them before the Beaujolais holiday on the third Thursday of November. But at 12:01AM on that very day, the corks can be popped and the festival begins. The displays go up at all the wine vendors who invite you to pop in for a tasting of the various Beaujolais Nouveau wines they picked to stock this year.

While it’s not quite a Thanksgiving feast, the release of the Beaujolais Nouveau each November is something I really look forward to here in France. I always rendez-vous at a cafe with a friend, or a few, on this third Thursday to try this year’s Beaujolais and take part in this fun French tradition. I had my first glass last Thursday. Fittingly, this year I wore my new L'Absolu Rouge lipstick in Lie de Vin, which literally translates to “of wine” or “burgundy” when referring to colors, in honor of the Beaujolais Nouveau. Burgundy is also the region where the grapes for this wine come from. It was the perfect creamy shade for a gorgeous wine stained lip worthy of the Beaujolais holiday!

<![CDATA[How to Order Coffee Like A Parisian]]>

One thing I love about traveling is observing coffee culture, to experience the way people all over the world bring coffee into their day in taste and ritual. Offering someone a coffee is a universal sign of hospitality, and when proposing a casual business meeting, a catch up with friends, or even a first date, coffee seems to be the thing we go to. France is no exception to either of these, and coffee is an integral part of the day — morning, noon, and night. Yes night! After a big dinner, the French almost always take un café. The other day as I pulled out my favourite shade of the new L’Absolu Rouge in Café Parisien (a creamy matte beige with a hunt of blush) I got to thinking about all of this and was inspired to write an article here about just that...Parisian coffee!

Paris Rendezvous

When in France or not, ordering coffee can seem like a foreign language. Macchiato, cortado, half-caf breve latte...I can’t even tell you what two and a half of those are. But in France, we actually like to keep our coffee pretty simple. It may sound complicated, but a few basics will have you covered. No matter how you take your coffee, here’s how to get just what you’re looking for when ordering in French. We l l actually, you’ll still be hard pressed to get a sugar free vanilla almond milk latte with caramel drizzle (this doesn’t translate to French, linguistically or culturally!) but the more French and more reasonable orders I’ve translated for you here...

Un café — This is a regular espresso, short and strong. Not to be confused with ordinary coffee. If you want to sound very Parisian, you can say un express, s’il vous plait! with your finger in the air.
Un double — The short way to order a double espresso, for when you really need a jolt of caffeine!
Un allongé — This is a watered down expresso, taller and less strong and roughly translates to a “coffee lying down” which I’ve always found kind of cute to say.
Café crème — An espresso with a lot of milk. This is the closest thing you can get to a latte at a cafe here in France, but I can’t promise they will steam your milk...
Café au lait — Literally meaning a filtered coffee with milk, this is less common to order in France than café crème, mainly because the French drink this sort of thing exclusively at home for breakfast.
Une noisette — An espresso with a little bit of hot milk. You can also say café noisette. It’s smaller than a café crème and so lighter on the milk. The name means hazelnut but only for its color and not its actual flavor.
Un déca — A decaffeinated coffee. Why anyone would order such a thing I have no idea!
Café américain — If you want a “cup of joe” ask for this and you will get regular filtered coffee, but refills aren’t a thing in France. You can also ask for un americano.
Cappuccino — Pretty universal, the cappuccino is the same in France, served with a heap of foam and often a sprinkle of cocoa powder.

<![CDATA[“Paris—City of Light and Love”]]>

There's something about Paris that is alluring to so many. I loved the way this article "City of Light and Love" has captured that in such a romantic way. It reminds me how lucky I am to be here, and I hope you find it inspiring, too...

Paris: City of Light & Love
A pair of lovers is strolling along the River Seine when 20,000 twinkling bulbs jolt the Eiffel Tower to life, illuminating the night sky. A couple share a kiss as they glide beneath the Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris, aboard a Bateaux-Mouches sightseeing boat. In this glorious city, romantic things happen everywhere, virtually every second of the day. Over the years, Paris’ unremitting beauty (a cleaning project has reintroduced major sparkle to its centuries-old facades) and artistic ethos have lured everyone from authors to musicians. The flower-and-fountain-filled Luxembourg Gardens feel purposely built for trysting, and the labyrinth of Parisian streets will transport your soul straight into a photograph. With a Michelin-star-studded dining scene and gilded palace hotels, Paris is the ultimate seductress among European cities.

City of Light

Dreamy days
Paris begs to be walked, one neighborhood (and museum) at a time. Stroll past the patisseries, boulangeries and chocolatiers of Saint-Germain-des-Prés on the way to the Beaux-Arts-style Musée d’Orsay; on another day, check out the hip shops and eateries of the Marais, the old Jewish quarter (pop into Vintage, a thrift store on rue des Rosiers with fantastic finds), on your way to the intimate Musée Picasso. Also making a splash on the Parisian arts scene is the Musée du Quai Branly, a celebration of world culture set along the Seine (tip: Go on a Thursday evening; it stays open until 9:30 p.m., and you can dine outside at the Panoramic Restaurant). Wander Les Jardins des Tuileries and visit the newly reopened Musée de l’Orangerie, where you will literally be surrounded by Monet’s masterpiece Les Nymphéas. Other musts: the just reopened Musée des Arts Décoratifs, showcasing fabulous furniture and ceramics, and the Musée du Louvre, the palatial home of the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and 35,000 other works.

Unforgettable nights
Slip past the city’s glittering bridges and monuments on a dinner cruise with Bateaux Parisiens, where the scenery is almost upstaged by the menu (duck foie gras with roast peach chutney). Many of the hippest night spots are inside hotels: People-watch in the art-filled bar at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme.

Reprinted with permission from Brides.

<![CDATA[Browsing Les Bouquinistes — Paris’s Seine-side Booksellers]]>

On a beautiful fall day in Paris there are an abundance of places to visit, but one of the best ways to spend such a day is strolling along the riverbanks in central Paris to browse the bouquinistes.

Paris Rendezvous

You may have already visited the Parisian bouquinistes yourself, but if not, you’ve likely caught glimpses of them in images of Paris in print and film. After all, these green stalls lining the river banks on the left and right bank from the Louvre to Notre Dame are one of the most iconic images of Paris. So I thought you might like to know the story behind these famous booksellers.

They are truly a living piece of history. They have been open consistently for centuries. While the individual sellers themselves passed on with the ages and handed down to new generations, the stalls themselves have been open for business for nearly five hundred years now! There are few markets or shops in the world than can claim such longevity. During the Wars of Religion, they distributed forbidden protestant pamphlets, and after the French Revolution their business boomed as the libraries of the wealthy elite were raided and redistributed to the masses, starting here!

But rest assured these vendors have no common commercial lease. Things are done the old way, with the stalls handed down generation to generation on seniority. Last I heard the waiting list was eight years long! Each lucky vendor is given four stalls of a uniform size for which they pay a token rent of only 100 euros a year for the stone walls upon which they sit. But the rules state they must be open at least four days a week or their spot must be given up. Plus, they are responsible for all upkeep, notably keeping the signature green paint fresh.

Then all that’s left to do is fill their stands with the treasures they collect for shoppers, like you and I, to come and browse. I wanted to share the bouquinistes with you because they are one of the best places to catch retro visions of French culture and buy the most unique souvenirs. In addition to old French books, here you’ll find vast assortments of old French fashion magazines, film and concert posters, maps, comic books, and even historic newspapers. If it went down in history in print, chances are you can find it there. Many sellers have also taken to selling art, notably original sketches and paintings of Parisian landscapes. From time to time you can even shop a few antiques at the bouquinistes.

So whether you get the chance to visit and shop them someday, or just love a bit of Paris history, I hope you enjoyed getting to know more about these famous fixtures in the life and times of Paris!

<![CDATA[Le Diner en Blanc]]>

If you want to attend the chicest picnic in the world, you might not be surprised when I tell you you’ll have to come to Paris for that. Leave it to the French to take a casual picnic to the next level, dress code, decor, and location, location, location. It’s called Le Diner en Blanc and it takes place once a year in June in the French capital.

Paris Rendezvous

The history of the Diner en Blanc is a very Parisian story. One summer evening nearly twenty years ago, a Parisian gentlemen invited some of his friends for a picnic dinner in the Bois de Bologne in the west of Paris. In order to easily find one another in the large park, he suggested they all wear white. The dinner was such a success they decided to continue the tradition. Each year the dinner grew and today one can expect about 10,000 people to show up for the Diner en Blanc, which translates to the “dinner in white”.

But here’s the catch, no one except the organizers know the exact location of the event until thirty minutes prior. One hour before the event the location is released, but only travels by word of mouth — no website, no tweets, no nothing. Just phone calls from friends to friends to spread the word. All at once the masses begin showing up dressed in white and setting up their picnic tables, candelabras, and dinner plates. Some of the spectacular locations have included the Palais Royal, Place de Vosges, Notre Dame, and Place de la Concorde.

The choice for this year’s location for Le Diner en Blanc seemed a natural one, the beautiful Place Vendôme. Place Vendôme has been undergoing some renovations the last two years, with the historical obelisk at its center and the iconic Ritz Hotel both obscured with scaffolding for far too long. Now that construction is finally finished and the Ritz newly reopened, Le Diner en Blanc here last week was the unofficial inauguration of the Place Vendôme’s return to its glory as one of the most stunning places in Paris.

We truly lucked out with the weather this time, as the dinner took place on a warm summer evening from dusk until dawn beneath the stars. If you haven’t guessed the dress code, it’s head to toe white. For my makeup I kept it summery and simple too, with Dual Finish for a clean complexion, my Vanilla Pop Juicy Shaker, and my French Nude Color Design palette to create a subtle smokey eye that was warm just like the night. And because at Le Diner Blanc a picnic dinner can easily turn into a white night out past one’s usual bedtime, I spoiled my skin with a healthy dose of Advanced Génifique the several nights since to recoup the hours of beauty sleep I forewent in the name of fun…

<![CDATA[The Scenic Route]]>

So often here during our rendez-vous, I say Paris is the most beautiful city in the world. It is in my eyes at least. But I have to wonder, “Do I show you enough?”

I thought it was about time I take you on a little tour of some of the city’s greatest monuments. What better way to whisk you around Paris than in the back of a vintage French Deux Chevaux with a driver who knows Paris’s scenic route like the back of his hand! Enter Paris Authentic and our driver du jour, Arno, who will pick us up for a sunny morning drive.

First stop, Bastille! Here we join Arno and meet the patriotic red white and blue painted Deux Chevaux. This iconic French car has been around since it was created to replace horse drawn carriages for farmers in the countryside. There is no road this little vehicle can’t handle, and they were built to last which is why you see many still on the road today in Paris. At the foot of the historic Bastille we hop into the back seat. There was once a prison here, but during the French revolution the people stormed it and tore it down, eventually replacing it with the large obelisk at its center today, creating a monument of the revolution.

Paris Rendezvous

Onward we go crossing over from the Right Bank to Left Bank via the charming Île de la Cité in the middle of the Seine river. Heading west we pass Les Invalides, the beautiful gold domed building where thousands of wounded military men were once looked after. Today it is a museum, and home to the tomb of the great French conqueror, Napoleon Bonaparte!

Not far away, we soon reach the Eiffel Tower, perhaps the most iconic structure in the world and the symbol of Paris! Passing by we stop for a while and marvel at it from afar. We drive closer for a better perspective of just how tall is, looking up through transparent ceiling of our Deux Chevaux overwhelmed by its sheer size!

Returning to the Right Bank, we approach the beautiful Arc de Triumphe. The ornate arch was constructed to honor the brave French soldiers that lost their lives in the revolution and Napoleonic wars. It is also one of the craziest roundabouts in the world, a swirling free-for-all of cars! But Arno is calm, cool, and collected, turn about several times for a good look.

Onward and upward we go to the beautiful village on the hill. Montmarte is home to the artists and free spirits of the city who love its sweeping views. We complete our tour at the foot of the Sacré Coeur church, with a minute to spare to powder my nose for a photo op or two before making our way home!

Now can you see why I think Paris is the most beautiful city in the world? Mais oui!

<![CDATA[New Year’s in Paris: Bonne Année!]]>

Excusez-moi if I sound a bit sentimental today but I tend to get this each approaching New Year. It reminds us that time flies and is above all precious. Some years are more challenging than others and make us happy to wave goodbye to them and start new.

Others exceed expectations and feel like a wild ride we wish we could take all over again. That was this year for me, and a huge part of that is the many days of 2014 I spent wandering the French capital discovering stories to share with all of you on the Lancôme blog. Writing and photographing it has been the highlight of my week throughout this past year. Paris is just that much better when I can share it will of you.

Paris Rendezvous

The beginning of 2015 marks the start Lancôme’s 80th year in Paris, and one year of Paris RDV! My passion for our is city is as strong as ever, and in the spirit of reflection, I wanted to celebrate this moment with a bit of sparkle and looking back on some of my favorite posts from the last year. It is often said that Paris is a city for lovers. While that may be true I believe above all, its a city for what in France we call bon vivants, the ones that live and love life to the fullest.

For those of us that taste every last bite, we had the best brunches in the city and sampled France’s iconic treats from the macaron to mille-feuilles and more. For those us whose curiosity leads us down every charming street, we got to know Paris’s geography with my favorite destinations in each quartier and the best parks to enjoy the great outdoors.

We decided to put our best selves forward each day with the Parisian wardrobe and beauty essentials, and gave Lancôme’s new Grandiôse mascara and the modern French manicure a try. We opened up and embraced new cultures with a few French lessons and tips for being the perfect French hostess, and made new friends with inspiring Parisiennes.

So this New Year I raise my glass to living it up in Paris with Lancôme and all of you. Thank you for joining me on these adventures, and cheers to more ahead of us in 2015! As we say in France... bonne année!

<![CDATA[Champagne Etiquette: Selecting, Serving, & Enjoying One of France's Greatest Exports]]>

Once upon a time I worked in an antique shop in my hometown. On slow days I would browse books from the shelves and one day I came across a little paper back titled French Wines so old its pages were coming loose. I turned straight to the chapter on champagne to learn all about how a monk named Dom Pérignon once tried to solve a corking dilemma and ended up accidentally creating the first sparkling wine. Little did I know reading this book would be the first of several chapters in my life centered around champagne.

Paris Rendezvous

Later on in Paris I ended up working for one of the most famous champagne houses in the world. During that time I had the chance to visit their vineyards, explore their underground cellars, taste some of the finest champagnes ever made, and even sit down for some champagne lessons with their famous cellar master. Needless to say I got a rather fine education in champagne during this time!

If you’re like me then you will be ringing in the New Year with some bubbly. Seeing as it’s one of France’s greatest exports and flowing freely this time of year, I thought it would be the perfect moment share some of my knowledge of champagne etiquette with you here…


• True champagne only comes from the Champagne region of France and made according to the champenois method. Otherwise it’s just sparkling wine! Check the label carefully.
• To impress a discerning palette go for a Grand Cru, which comes from the finest grapes on designated plots of land in an area known as the Golden Triangle.
• If you prefer less sweet, choose a bottle of Brut, meaning that no sucre was added.


• Chill your bottle between 45-50°F in order to best taste its flavors. This equates to about thirty minutes in an ice bucket or four hours in the fridge.
• When it comes to your glasses, certain shapes like the typical tulip and flute glass are ideal for aromas to develop. However, I prefer the retro-chic champagne coupe. Some rumors say that the shape of this historic glassware was formed around Marie Antoinette’s breast!
• Uncork it by holding it down with your thumb when releasing the wire caging to avoid premature popping. With a napkin, hold the cork and rotate the bottle in your other hand to loosen it gently.
• Wrap the bottle in a napkin or tea towel and place your thumb in the impression at the base of the bottle. If you need, balance the bottle with your hand from underneath while never grabbing its neck.
• You may need to make several pours to avoid overflowing with bubbles, and when finishing twist the bottle to avoid dripping. The tea towel will catch the rest.


• Champagne is typically best enjoyed before or after a meal, either served as an aperitif with some small savory snacks, or with dessert. It also makes a great substitute for dessert.
• Champagne can also be served during a meal like other wines. This, however, takes thoughtful pairing so study the notes of your champagnes before to know which plates they are best paired with.
• And don’t forget, champagne is best enjoyed in good company, and always in moderation and responsibly!

<![CDATA[Vive la France! Celebrating Bastille Day in Paris]]>

“Vive la France!” If you were in Paris last week you would be hearing this phrase a lot. It’s the patriotic exclamation of the French cheered in the streets on the 14th of July. What’s commonly referred to as Bastille Day abroad, and locally referred to as simply the 14 juillet, is the national celebration of France. Everywhere you go in Paris the French flag is flying high with national pride throughout the festivities.

Paris Rendezvous Much like the 4th of July in the states, the 14th of July brings us all together at the height of summer to celebrate our red, white and blue and commemorate the founding of the French Republic in the aftermath of the revolution. In fact, both the American and French revolutions happened on the heels of The Enlightenment, with ideas inspiring the masses to take action and balance the power in favor of the people in a time when monarchies were the norm. Today, you can replace the barbecue with picnics, the beer with wine, and the Statue of Liberty with the Eiffel Tower and voilà…you can begin to imagine what the 14th of July is like here in the French capital.

The celebrations in Paris are the biggest in the nation of course. On the morning of the 14th, the Champs Élysées between Place de l’Étoile and the Tuileries is paraded with stunningly coordinated military spectacles. The French Republican Guard lines up on horseback in their traditional uniforms, marching for the people in perfect unison. Overhead, the French Air Force wows the crowd as they appear in the sky above the Arc de Triomphe in perfect aerial formation, leaving behind ribbons of red, white, and blue in the sky. Even the President makes his appearance here.

But oh the night! 14 juillet goes out with a bang in Paris that is bigger and brighter than any spectacle I’ve ever seen…fireworks at the Eiffel Tower! This year I braved the crowds taking their places on the Champ de Mars and Trocadéro to see it first-hand. It exceeded my every expectation. With nearly 50 different designs worked into this year’s celebration, the combination of fireworks, changing lights, and music spiraling out wowed us all. All of Paris was a glow with Eiffel’s light, and reeling with excitement. I couldn’t help but feel proud to call such a beautiful country my home along with Lancôme, and honored to be able to share a taste of the 14 juillet with all of you here. Now say it with me…vive la France!

<![CDATA[My Favorite Paris Destinations]]>

It seems like an anecdote fit for France, but indeed I was in California the day I met a boy in a coffee shop who taught me all I needed to know about Paris’ geography. “You live in Paris? I’m moving there!” I exclaimed, as if it was fate to find this rare breed on my side of the world.

He took his napkin and pen and began to draw what appeared to be a large snail, or escargot as the French would say. Spiraling out, he mapped Paris’ twenty arrondissements, finally adding a thin line across the middle proclaiming “the Seine, it’s the river” and labeling its respective sides Rive Gauche and Rive Droite.

As many ways as there are to geographically divide Paris, the city is incredibly united where each neighborhood transitions into the next seamlessly. Historically the world has viewed it in these two parts, the Right Bank and the Left Bank. The larger Rive Droite in the north makes room for the majority of the city’s most frequented tourist attractions and commerce. Meanwhile, the smaller Rive Gauche on the south side of the Seine became home to artists and intellectuals among its galleries and universities, emerging with a unique style that the late and great Yves Saint Laurent sought to capture in his Rive Gauche collections.


While immune to much change, as its charm seems eternally preserved, Paris has evolved through the years, shifting these lines to define the city in new ways. Today it’s best understood by the traditional and chic west and the edgy and emerging east. Fittingly, I’ve landed somewhere spot in the middle of the two, in the heart of Paris in a neighborhood called the Marais, a geographical and stylistic compromise between these two sides that seems to resonate with many expats like myself. In Paris, your arrondissement says a lot about who you are and what you like. Here’s a run down of what you might need to know, grouping them into 11 general areas for planning activities along with some of my favorite things to visit in each…

The Tuileries to Opéra

•    SHOP along the Rue Saint Honoré and Printemps
•    EAT at Le Soufflé
•    VISIT the Place Vendôme, the Tuileries and the Palais Royale

The Champs-Elysées

•    VISIT the Arc de Triumphe for an incredible view
•    SHOP on the fashionable Avenue Montaigne

The Marais

•    EAT at La Loire dans La Théière
•    SHOP at Joy and Merci
•    VISIT the Musée du Carnavalet
•    DRINK at Mary Celeste

Ile Saint Louis & Ile de la Cité

•    VISIT Le Pont Saint Louis to listen to “La Vie En Rose”
•    EAT ice cream at Bertillon
•    VISIT the peaceful gardens behind Notre Dame to see it from another side

The Latin Quarter

•    EAT some French candies at Le Bonbon au Palais
•    SHOP the fresh market at Place Monge
•    VISIT the Jardin du Luxembourg

St. Germain-des-Pres

•    EAT at Café de Flore
•    SHOP at Sonia Rykiel and other great boutiques along Boulevard Saint-Germain
•    VISIT the Musée d’Orsay


•    EAT at the traditional brasserie La Coupole
•    SHOP nearby at Le Bon Marché


•    VISIT Trocadéro itself to enjoy the view of the Eiffel Tower
•    EAT at La Carette
•    VISIT the Champs de Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower just across the bridge

Pigalle & Montmartre

•    EAT & DRINK at the Hotel Amour
•    SHOP along the Rue des Martyrs
•    VISIT the Sacré Coeur


•    EAT at Le Square Trousseau
•    SHOP unique boutiques along the Rue de Charonne
•    DRINK at Pause Café


•    EAT & DRINK at Mama Shelter
•    VISIT the Buttes Chaumont

<![CDATA[Les Bonbons — Trying Traditional French Candies]]>

Trick or treat, trick or treat, give me something good to eat! The days after Halloween are all about enjoying candy! But before you get to your candy, don’t forget to get your face squeaky clean from all that Halloween makeup with Bi-Facil and Bi-Facil Face! Once that’s out of the way you can move on to attacking all those sweets you (or your little ones) scored.

Paris Rendezvous

While going around door to door and trick or treating is not yet common in Paris (perhaps in the suburbs) it doesn’t mean the French do not enjoy their fair share of candy this time of year, or any other time for that matter. Have you seen our adorable candy stands around town with their pink striped bags? Mais oui!

While I do love good old American candy (hello peanut butter cups!), some people say “the French do it better!” and when it comes to candies, well…that might be true. They certainly have been at it for a long time. Most of our traditional candies here date back hundreds of years and are tied to beautiful places across the country. I thought Halloween would be a fun time to teach you a bit about some of my favorites. I hope you get to taste some of these soon and decide for yourself if the French really do do it better!

Les Calissons d’Aix — These delicious candies from the south of France are my personal favorite! While they come from Aix en Provence originating in the 15th century, they are easy to find all over France nowadays. They come in a tear drop shape and are made from various types of fruit paste ground together with almond marzipan. This delicious filling is sandwiched between a hard coat of icing on the top, and a chewy breaded bottom for a mix of sweet textures. Temptation to create hypnotic lips!

Le Nougat de Montélimar — This 300 year old candy recipe originating from central France includes almond, honey, milk, sugar, and egg whites. The ingredients are beaten and baked together in a short brick that is then cute into easily edible squares. The texture is chewy with a bit of crunch from the almonds inside. I prefer them plain but you can find them in many fruit and floral flavours as well as chocolate…yum!

La Violette de Toulouse — Hailing from the city of Toulouse in the southwest of France, La Voilette de Toulouse is named after the official flower of the city, violets - with whom they share their color, shape, and flavor. They’ve been around since the 1800’s. If you are a fan of floral tastes in your sweets you’ll love these crystallised flowers!

Les Bêtises de Cambrai — These candies look like a small pillow with a stripe of caramelised sugar running through their center and come in common flavours like apple, lemon, and more. They come from the city of Cambrai in the north of France and were invented in the 19th century when a local pastry chef made a mistake with one of his recipes. He decided to try to sell the candies anyhow and called them bêtises, which means mistake in French. They turned out to be a big hit and are still around today.

<![CDATA["The Insider’s Guide to Paris: Where to Stay"]]>

Since starting my blog, Making Magique, the most common question I receive is "Where should I stay in Paris?" The city has some of the world’s most extraordinary hotels, big and small. However, you can also rent a Parisian apartment and live like a local during your stay. Get some tips and tricks for staying in the City of Light with this article from Bon Appétit!

Splurge on Food, Not Sleep.
Itʼs true, Paris excels at luxury hotels (Le Bristol, the Ritz, Le Meurice, etc.) like no place else. But you can still stay someplace chic for under $225 a night—no easy feat—without feeling like a backpacker. Check out:

Hotel Amour: A fave of young artists and fashion followers in Montmartre. Think shiny red walls and super-edgy art.

Paris Rendez-Vous

Hotel Joyce: Well-priced design hotel near the Opéra Garnier, the Louvre and Montmartre.

Hotel Thérèse: Quiet, classic-contemporary hotel near the Louvre and the Palais-Royal. —c.m.

Cook (and Live) Like a Local
Reasons to rent an apartment in Paris: They often end up being much more affordable than hotel rooms, especially for families, and are often larger and more private. Plus, they make it easier to pretend you live there (i.e., you can actually buy produce at the market). Hereʼs the crème de la crème of the sources for pieds-à-terre:

Specializing in the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th arrondissements.

Luxury rentals around the city.

Over the top—and still less expensive than a week at Hotel De Crillon.

Apartments near the best food-shopping streets in the charming 9th and 18th arrondissements. —a.l.

Reprinted with permission from Bon Appetit: “The Insider’s Guide to Paris”

<![CDATA[CULINARY CLASS: How to Make Classic French Crêpes!]]>

One does not need to attend the prestigious Cordon Bleu academy in Paris to learn how to serve up a delicious dish from France!

In every French chef’s repertoire is a classic crêpe recipe. Sweet or savory from morning to night, there is no wrong way to serve them. That is as long as you follow this one rule: don't break the crêpe! That takes a little bit of practice. But I’ve done my fair share in my little Paris kitchen over the years, so I think I’m qualified to teach you this classic French recipe on Paris Rendez-Vous this week. Shall we begin?

You will need...
• 3 ⅓ cups of flour
• ¼ cup of melted butter
• 6 eggs
• a pinch of salt
• a glass of milk
• a large non-stick pan
• a whisk, ladle and spatula

Paris Rendezvous

MIX — In a large bowl combine the flour and salt, giving them a nice stir. In separate bowl beat the eggs until they are mixed well. Add the melted butter and stir, then pour the liquid into your dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add milk as necessary until your batter is runny but not watered down.

COOK — Preheat the large frying pan on the stove just below medium heat. Butter the pan and then pour one full ladle of batter into it. With the bottom of your ladle, start at the centre and spread the batter out evenly in gentle circular motions. Once the batter solidifies showing tiny bubbles, very delicately loosen the crêpe from the pan and flip it over. Before long, it’s ready!

SERVE — Let your crêpes cool for several minutes before garnishing them to your liking and serving. For breakfast, I like to top mine off with some homemade confiture that’s as easy as slicing your favourite seasonal fruit and simmering it with honey in a pan. For lunch or dinner, heat up your crêpes on the stove with some ham, cheese, and a sliced tomato. And for dessert, sprinkle them with sugar and a squeeze of lemon before topping them off with a bit of ice cream.

Once you have this classic recipe down, there is no limit to the ways you can serve up French crêpes easily at any time of day from your very own kitchen. Bon appétit!

<![CDATA[Coffee Break in Paris and Beyond]]>

A friendly, Paris rendez-vous is typically proposed in one of two forms; an apéro or a café, meaning a cocktail or a coffee. Either one is perfectly conducive to meeting to talk fashion, share beauty tips or even do a bit of business.

In France, you’re welcome to lounge for hours without so much as a suggestion for the check. I’ve always enjoyed these sort of leisurely rendez-vous punctuating life in Paris. In the afternoons, I’ll often meet a friend or take a meeting over a coffee: a little pick-me-up to get me through the rest of the workday. When on my own, I’ve written some of my favorite articles for Paris-Rendez-vous and Making Magique enjoying a café crème or flat white at my usual cafés and coffee shops.  It’s part of the culture that I’ve really adopted and indulge in even when I’m back in the states. As you can imagine, over the last five years I’ve become a regular at a few places. If you’re in Paris and decide to pause for a coffee break, you might find me in one of these spots enjoying Paris’ finest coffee. In the meantime, for those of you stateside, there are plenty of locations to rival the coffee and pastries of Paris, so I’m sharing my favorite Los Angeles and New York must-go-tos!

Paris Rendez-vousPARIS

Café Coutume, 47 Rue de Babylone Paris 7ème
Coutume opened to enrich the French coffee culture by providing its wide offering of seasonal award-grade coffees. Here, they are truly passionate about the coffee-brewing process. The minimal design inside is a peaceful atmosphere to sit, sip and savor the aromas of fine coffees. The treats are also delicious if you’re up for a snack.

Le Bal Café, 6 Impasse de la Défense, Paris 18ème
The opening of Le Bal Café several years ago marked a new era for this quartier in north Paris. This spot truly brings culture along with its coffee, as the space features art alongside your favorite brew. Hungry, too? The menu does not disappoint.

KB Cafeshop, 62 Rue des Martyrs, Paris 9ème
KB Cafeshop is a great stop in Paris’ trendy Pigalle area. It’s small but welcoming and an ideal place to strike up a conversation with other coffee connoisseurs or catch up on some work. Pair your coffee with one of the scones and you’ll be content enough to stay for hours.

La Caféotheque, 52 Rue de l'Hôtel de ville, Paris 4ème
This is my most regularly visited stop for coffee in the city, as it’s conveniently located in the Marais. It’s a great place to enjoy top quality coffee and sit and write. They have a beautiful green room with a living wall of plants that is unlike anything I’ve seen in the city. If you really love the java, you can purchase some to take home as well!


Bakeri, 150 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn NY
A sweet little spot with antique European charm serving up delicious hot drinks and a menu of sweet and savory.

Blue Bottle Coffee, 160 Berry Street, Brooklyn NY
Carefully crafted coffee—freshly roasted and served at the peak of its flavor—makes Blue Bottle the place for true connoisseurs to enjoy some of the world’s best coffee.

Jack’s, 138 W. 10th Street, New York NY
Jack’s is a West Village fave I got to know while my sister was living nearby. Known for his special stir-brew method, the coffee and company are always great here.


Bricks & Scones, 403 N Larchmont Boulevard
One of my favorite LA freelancer-friendly spots to sit and work over a mocha and one of its signature scones.

Graffiti, 180 S La Brea Avenue
A stylish and Zen environment passionate about quality coffee, Graffiti is another great place for friends to meet over café in Los Angeles.

Intelligentsia, 3922 W Sunset Boulevard
Intelligentsia’s internationally recognized baristas brew up coffee made to order and craft spectacular espresso drinks always worth waiting in line for. 

<![CDATA[The Best Day Trips From Paris]]>

In the summer time in Paris my phone rings and my inbox fills up with messages from far away friends. When you’re an American in Paris you also tend to be the resident travel consultant for friends, family, and friends of theirs traveling to Paris. I don’t mind at all receiving such requests though. I love Paris and France so much that to be able to share it with others to ensure their trip here is all they’ve dreamed of brings me great joy.

Paris Rendezvous

One of the questions I receive the most, especially this time of year, is “what are the best day trips from Paris?” Something about summer makes us want to go further, to venture not just around but also outside the city in search of wanderlust. I thought my readers here on Paris Rendez-Vous might like to have this question answered too. So here are my tips for the best day trips from Paris. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!

Giverney — Discover the home of the famous impressionist painter, Claude Monet, and his gardens that inspired his most famous paintings. Monet loved living in the countryside here outside of Paris, and even thought it’s just an hour away from the city you will be completely surrounded by nature. See Monet’s perfectly preserved home and gorgeous waterlilies, and take a stroll in the village he loved before grabbing lunch in a cute café. Giverney can be reached by train, car, or bus.

Jardin de Bagatelle — Located in the forest on the edge of Paris known at the Bois de Bologne, you’ll find a little regal park known as the Jardin de Bagatelle. Beautiful gazebos, an orangerie, rose garden, and even peacocks await you here. This dreamy place can be reached via the metro from the city center and a short walk.

Fontainebleau — Located to the south east of Paris, Fontainebleau predates Versailles as one of the royal family’s palaces most often used as a hunting lodge. The palace offers some breathtaking rooms, including Marie Antoinette’s turkish boudoir. But my favorite is its surrounding gardens, including the lake with boats to row and blooming trees. The town itself is very cute, and you can stop to enjoy ice creams or even hike around the forest which has many lovely walks. Best yet, Fontainebleau can be reached super easily form Paris via the RER train in just about 40 minutes.

Versailles — This is one of the most obvious choices for a day trip from Paris but one that is hard to beat. The name speaks for itself, but don’t be fooled that it’s just the palace. Versailles’ gardens, and Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet are enough to take up your whole day here themselves! Versailles can be reached via the RER A train leaving from the center of Paris.

Château de Vincennes — Located literally just outside of the city limits, this chateau is more of a fortress than a palace. Mostly medieval, it is steeped in French history as it has served as both a hunting lodge for the royals and a prison in centuries past. Today though, it is mostly nice families visiting to take in its architecture, who also enjoy walks in the surrounding forest and the zoo that can be found there! Château de Vincennes can be reached from center of Paris in just ten minutes at the end of the Metro line 1.

<![CDATA[The Countryside in Paris — Pique-Nique at Hôtel Particulier Montmartre]]>

There are so many ways to enjoy summer in Paris, and a Parisian picnic is a perfect one. We certainly have no shortage of places to choose from. Hmmm…let’s see. Around the fountains of the Place de Vosges in the Marais? Or on the tree-lined lawns of the Jardin du Luxembourg? Or, how about the banks of the Seine River? And that’s just the beginning. Recently, I’ve discovered a new place to have a Parisian picnic this summer that takes picnicking to a whole new level — Hôtel Particulier Montmartre.

Paris Rendezvous

At the top of Paris on the hill of Montmartre, hidden away off one of its storybook cobblestone streets and behind an old rod iron gate, is where you will find this place. An old townhouse, or hotel particulier as we call them in French, it has been re-imagined and converted into a dynamic space for the city’s visitors and locals alike to enjoy. The property boasts five suites, an intimate restaurant, and even a quaint little bar serving up specialty cocktails. But perhaps it’s most majestic offering is it’s surrounding garden where you can dine al fresco.

I overheard several weeks back at a party that this summer they would begin their very own picnic service and it’s been on my must-do list ever since. With a friend in town visiting, I had the perfect occasion to try it. I knew it would be no ordinary pique-nique. Hôtel Particulier Montmartre and their chef Thibaut Spiwack have elevated picnicking into fine dining with a three course meal and some extras.

The mouth-watering picnic menu arrived with a feather quill pen for us to mark our selection for little feast, and several minutes later our beautiful plaid lined basket filled with our assortment of the dishes followed — radishes and salted french butter on baguette, truffle quiche, the cheese of the day, chocolate mousse and cheesecake topped with crumble…yum! Mid lunch we were even paid a visit from one of the two chickens in residence wandering about, Coquette! What a truly bucolic piece of the countryside here in Paris. It will be hard to top this pique-nique for sure.

If you make it to Paris this summer, I highly recommend reserving one of these picnics at Hotel Particular Montmartre! And if you want to host a Parisian picnic closer to home on a sunny day this summer, you can pique-nique like a Parisienne with a few little tips from one of my past posts you can find here!

<![CDATA[Shakespeare & Company: A place that reminds me of home…]]>

It seems a paradox that such an iconic Paris landmark as Shakespeare & Company would remind an American like me of home. Nothing about the bookstore’s antique façade, view of Notre Dame or stone-walled interiors say America. The familiarity is stacked upon its shelves as it houses the greatest words ever written in the English language, words that Americans in Paris might miss more than they would like to admit.

I imagine it was such a longing that led Sylvia Beach, a New Jersey native, to open the original Shakespeare & Company in 1919. That, and certainly her love of books. American writers of the “Lost Generation” found a home here like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound. In “A Moveable Feast,” Ernest Hemingway recounts how Sylvia lent the then unknown writer books for free as he struggled to get his career off the ground while working as a journalist in Paris.

Shakespeare and Company

Nearly a century later, the Shakespeare & Company of today is actually a reinvention of the original. A decade or so after its closure during World War II, George Whitman reopened another bookshop inspired by Sylvia Beach’s original, eventually renaming it in tribute. It’s not the only thing George named after the original. He even bestowed the name Sylvia upon his daughter, who runs the Shakespeare & Company of today with the same philosophy of the first Sylvia. Selected writers and readers from across the world are invited to board at the shop during their stay in Paris. On the table outside, the books that could no longer fit on the shelves are given away for free. I share two common languages with the people here; English and literature. It’s a comfort speaking both with the staff and other Americans who come to the shop, as we pull our favorite novels in their original versions from the shelves, asking one another where they’re from and how they ended up here.

The more years I spend in Paris, the more it feels like home. When I’m away I find myself searching for little things that remind me of it here. Inversely, when in France I seek out reminders of my American roots. Somehow in this little bookstore the two merge. When in need of that or just a good read, I come here and take a seat outside, making myself at home in the pages of my favorite books.

Speaking of home, for our next Paris Rendez-vous, Lancôme and I have decided to share with you another excerpt from Brides article “Paris—City of Light and Love.” Catch the first half here if you missed it. See you then!

<![CDATA[French Paradise: A voyage from Paris to the South of France]]>

If Paris is heaven, then the south of France is paradise. The Côte d’Azur has long been the iconic getaway of all Parisians. When the weather warms up they flock to this gorgeous place for sea and sun stretching from Cassis to Nice.

Their getaways begin in Spring around the time of the Cannes film festival, and peak in the summer when it seems nearly all of Paris has flown south for the month of August. That’s how I first discovered this part of the country, one August now many summers ago on the annual Parisian getaway. Immediately I was hooked.

Paris Rendezvous

My love of the south is very unique though. For me places like Nice are where my two worlds collide. A mélange of the sea, sun, and palm trees from my roots in Southern California, and the culture and architecture of the French from my home in Paris. For myself in particular it’s a most welcoming combination. And so I find myself returning often whenever the opportunity presents itself. In fact the office of tourism in Nice invited me to come down for several days and discover the city with them. So last Monday I boarded a train at Gare de Lyon in Paris for the five hour scenic ride to the south. The next two days were nothing short of paradise spent strolling the famous Promenade des Anglais along the coastline and lounging by the sea at the private beaches beneath those striped umbrellas. When the days are hot in the south of France, you dip your toes in the vibrant turquoise waters of the Mediterranean and let the cool breeze of the Mistral winds brush over your skin. And in Nice, it’s hard not to finish every day by watching the fiery pink and rouge sunsets from atop the Chateau de Nice reflecting on the Bay of Angels. If this place isn’t paradise I don’t know what is.

And so naturally, every Parisian returns from their time in the South revitalised, rested, and inspired. I imagine that’s how Lancôme dreamed up the summer color collection, French Paradise. I see the blues of those perfect Mediterranean waters in it’s shadows, the golden rays of the sunshine in its shimmer, and the vibrant reds of those sunsets to tint our lips and cheeks. Luckily the collection arrived just in time for my little voyage, tossing some of my favorites in my suitcase before disappearing to paradise. But don’t worry, next week I’ll see you back in Paris...

<![CDATA[Paris à l'air libre: Discover Paris by Bike with Vélib!]]>

À l’air libre…in French this means “in the open air”. In spring and summer there is no better way to experience the city than by bike. Paris is an incredibly friendly place to cycle in. Bike paths are clearly laid out, the terrain fairly flat, drivers surprisingly courteous, and then of course there is Vélib! Vélib is the revolutionary public bike system introduced to the city about a decade ago. Paris’s progressive public bikes have since inspired similar systems in New York, Vancouver, and beyond. With stations every several hundred meters you can pick up and drop off a bike at your convenience for a very small fee, and thus Vélib has become one of the best ways for tourists to see the city affordably and efficiently.

I recently talked to the expert, Lindsey Tramuta, journalist and author of Paris à l’air libre, the official Vélib guide to get some insights on biking Paris! Here’s what she had to say…

Why is Vélib a great way to see Paris?

Paris Rendezvous

“Firstly, it makes you feel like a local! Vélib helped establish Parisian bike culture. Now locals of all ages use Vélib to go to work, run errands, meet friends, or simply traverse the city for pleasure. As a traveler, I often look for ways to experience a new place as a local. With Vélib you'll ride alongside locals and more easily allow yourself to get lost in the warren of side streets and impasses. That's where the magic is!

Secondly, it keeps you active. Exploring Paris by foot is incredible and certainly very easy but there's something about feeling the air whip through your hair as you ride along the river banks that just can't be topped. Not only that, if you're like me, you'll be consuming quite a number of indulgences so getting your heart rate up does a tremendous amount of good!

And of course it streamlines your visit if you’re short on time. By bike, you can optimize travel time to see as much as you can. Seeing the city on two wheels is a great way to maximize that time and get to your must-see spots as quickly as possible.”

Do you have a Vélib itinerary to recommend?

“One of my favorite itineraries will take you along the Seine. Start at Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis and continue via the left bank to the Musée d’Orsay. Then, cycle around Les Invalides before heading toward the Eiffel Tower nearby. You can loop around and then head back the way you came.”

Follow Lindsey on her blog for more great Paris tips! No matter where you are, exploring by bike is one of the best ways to enjoy where you live. So this summer, why not do as the Parisians do and cycle your city?

<![CDATA[Madeleines: A Quick and Classic French Recipe]]>

One of the most magical things about living in Paris is walking through its streets filled with the scent of fresh baked goods. There is a bakery on nearly every corner in this city and each Parisian has their favorite. Having an abundance of fresh baked goods at hand is definitely one of the greatest perks of living in the French capital. But with a few classic recipes, you can bring them to your own home and kitchen wherever you are. In autumn I love to cozy up inside to cook and bake more, so I thought I would whip up some madeleines and share this classic French recipe with you.

Paris Rendezvous

Madeleines are a moist little light cake. They are modest in size and baked in the form of a shell, thanks to the traditionally beautiful madeleine moulds, which can easily be found at any baking supply store. In France they are a symbol of conviviality, a sweet and simple treat often served to guests around a friendly table with a hot drink. Thus, they are the perfect French recette to have on hand for those who love to host small gatherings.

There are three ingredients that make these little French cakes especially delicious. The first is a marrying of lemon zest and orange blossom extract, the latter of which is a French culinary favorite. And then of course butter, which the French certainly have a reputation of using generously, as I am sure you all know..

French Madeleines

Before beginning, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare your pan by greasing it with butter and dusting it with flour to prevent sticking. Then, gather and measure the following ingredients...

• 2⁄3 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
• 1 tablespoon of orange blossom extract
• 1 pinch salt
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup of melted unsalted butter
• 2 large eggs

Start by mixing the sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest, and orange blossom extract in a large bowl by hand or with a mixer. Then add the flour in increments and stir each time. Once the ingredients are well mixed, add the melted butter slowly and beat until blended. Fill your madeleines moulds 2/3 with the batter and bake them for 13 minutes. Let them cool before removing from the pan.

For a bit of an extra touch, dust them in powdered sugar or even melt some chocolate to dip them in if you are feeling extra indulgent. Then simply brew up a warm cup of coffee or tea to serve with your madeleines and enjoy. Bon appétit!

<![CDATA[Les Croisières: Cool Off with a Parisian Cruise]]>

To be honest, it’s almost a shame so many people leave Paris in August. There are a whole myriad of wonderful seasonal activities that spring up this time of year around the French capital, just in time for the perfect weather to match. A few of my favourites are the open air cinemas in the park at night and the carnival in the Tuileries gardens on warm evenings.

Paris Rendezvous

Water plays a big roll in the geography of Paris, and in summer, little pop-up bars, cafés, markets, and sporting activities suddenly appear, animating the banks of the Seine and the canals in the east. These are called Paris Plages (or Paris Beaches) and are put on by the local government for remaining city dwellers to make the most of this gorgeous summer weather. Here you’ll find the best way to cool off on a hot summer day — a Parisian cruise.

Along the Seine, you can hop aboard one of the many croisières taking travellers up and down the river to kick back and relax for some site seeing. These offer a unique perspective of the city from the water, and are quite a convenient way to get around as some, like the Batobus, let you on and off at each stop as you please. What might look like a tourist trap is actually an extremely fun way to see Paris. So much fun that locals, like me, take them every now and again.

But the real local’s favourite in recent years for a summer cruise is the Marin D’eau Douce. In the northeast of Paris, you’ll find these fun little electric boats at the Bassin de la Villette which feeds into the Canal Saint Martin, another one of my favourite summer hangouts. This basin is actually technically considered a lake, and is the largest one in Paris. The others you’ll mostly find in the large parks, particularly the Bois de Boulogne in the west where you can rent row boats. But here at La Villette, you’ll be captaining your own motor boat.

This week, before leaving on our own vacations, my friend Katie and I packed a little picnic and took turns driving one another up and down the canal in our own petit bateau. How nice it was to feel the breeze blowing through our hair, waving to other boats as we sailed on by, and even make some new friends.

Of course, when the sun is out, so is the sunscreen. I can not reiterate enough how essential SPF is this time of year. Lancôme makes it easy for us though, with their SPF products offering extra sun protection. A summer day out in the city for me begins with Bienfait Multi-Vital SPF 30, which is always on hand. And as I head out of town to the beach next week, rest assured... Bienfait UV SPF 50+ will be on double duty, while still oil free, light weight, and fast absorbing so as never to clog my complexion. And there you have it, my city and beauty tips for making most of summer while it lasts!

<![CDATA[Paris Inspires — My Favorite Quotes About Paris]]>

There is something about the French capital that brings out the creativity in all of us. In fact, that’s why we chose to call the Lancôme blog Paris Rendez-Vous, to illustrate how the city’s hometown inspires the house of Lancôme in so much it does.

Paris Rendezvous

It was here that I first picked up a camera and later started writing, and since I started doing so for Lancôme too, there has been so much to tell and show you here each week that I don’t often get to just relish in the simple joy of Paris itself. When I tell people I live in Paris the first thing nearly everyone asks me is “Do you like it there?”. What I funny question I think, wondering how one could not like Paris? At the same time, life here isn’t always perfect like the pictures people see on Instagram. But even then, I try to never take its splendors for granted, how it inspires me to photograph, to write, and to dream.

So in that spirit this week I’ve chosen to do something sweet and simple, to share some of my favorite postcards I’ve snapped in the city, along with beloved quotes about the French capital. May they remind you, as they have me this week, what a truly wonderful place Paris is for all who have the chance to wander here…

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” — Ernest Hemingway

“Paris, I believe, is a man in his twenties in love with an older woman.” — John Berger

“Paris… is a world meant for the walker alone, for only the pace of strolling can take in all the rich (if muted) detail.” — Edmund White

“You can’t escape the past in Paris, and yet what’s so wonderful about it is that the past and present intermingle so intangibly that it doesn’t seem to burden.” — Allen Ginsberg

“Paris is so human and there is something noble in the city… It is a real city, old and fine and life plays in it for everybody to see.” — Katherine Mansfield

“When good Americans die, they go to Paris.” – Oscar Wilde

“Sitting there, alone in a foreign country, far from my job and everyone I know, a feeling came over me. It was like remembering something I'd never known before or had always been waiting for, but I didn't know what. Maybe it was something I'd forgotten or something I've been missing all my life. All I can say is that I felt, at the same time, joy and sadness. But not too much sadness, because I felt alive. Yes, alive. That was the moment I fell in love with Paris. And I felt Paris fall in love with me.” — Paris, Je t’aime

<![CDATA[Angelina — Waiting Out Winter with a Chocolat Chaud]]>

Oh winter has been tough this year! While I’ve seemed to finally kick my winter skin woes to the curb for once, I can’t seem to shake the blues with this grey sky and cold rains that have been going on. In the home stretch of the season with one month to go before we start seeing some first signs of spring, I feel like I’m in constant search of places to hide out, warm up, and pass the time.

Paris Rendezvous

And when I am in need of some refuge and a little pick-me-up this time of year, there is a special little place I like to go. In fact, it’s a bit of a seasonal tradition since I’ve been in Paris — Angelina! This elegant belle époque tea room with its faded grandeur sits right in front of the Jardin des Tuileries and is practically a Paris landmark in itself. It’s been around since 1903! But I don’t come here for their tea, nor do the rest! In fact the house specialty is their very famous and very decadent chocolat chaud.

This isn’t your ordinary hot chocolate, this is the real deal and perfect for those like me who are quite gourmande — the french expression for being a bit greedy and indulgent when it comes to food! I might equate the phrase to something like “sweet tooth” in English, and if a sweet tooth is what you have, then Angelina’s is the place to be! I often rendezvous here with girlfriends to debrief from a busy week, or grab the news and cozy up by myself for a bit of sugar intake!

From the moment my Angelina’s hot chocolate arrives at my table, I can feel all those winter blues melting away. Served in an elegant little pitcher, its ultra thick texture, almost like pure melted chocolate, is absolutely mouthwatering as it’s poured into my teacup! It’s so rich and creamy sometimes people prefer to share old-fashioned hot chocolate like this, but I keep mine all to myself. Angelina’s famous hot chocolate also comes in three varieties — regular chocolate, white chocolate, and l’African which is a very special spiced version unique to the house. I’ve tried all three. But why stop there? I always order the Montblanc to eat with my hot chocolate — a fluffy meringue topped with cream and a chestnut purée.

But if you can’t make it Paris to enjoy Angelina’s hot chocolat, the good news is that I found this recipe online to make your own at home for those of you waiting out the winter elsewhere. And for a look as sweet and mouthwatering as an afternoon at Angelina’s, try Le Stylo Waterproof in Chocolat and L'Absolu Rouge in Crème de Marron!


You know how the saying goes…it’s five-o-clock somewhere! Throughout my travels I’ve found one of America’s most popular exports is the afterwork tradition of Happy Hour. Not surprisingly, unwinding with colleagues or friends after a successful day of work is a universal joy. Throw in a well crafted cocktail or some amazing French wine for half the price and it’s that much better!

Paris Rendez-vous

There’s a funny little thing about Happy Hour in Paris that always makes me smile. You see, in France they don’t exactly translate the phrase. Instead they’ve adopted it almost just as it is, calling it Happy Hours, with an “s” at the end. It makes a lot of sense considering it’s almost always more than one hour, especially in Paris where we all like to sit and take our time.

Now, you may be wondering how to keep your makeup looking fresh enough all day to head out after work. Try using La Base Pro each morning before your foundation to keep makeup set in place. I always carry my Dual Finish compact for touch ups on-the-go, and a slightly darker shade of my favorite Absolu Rouge lipstick to switch my look up for the evening.

Now you’re ready for the perfect spot to enjoy Happy Hours. If you happen to be in Paris, why not give some of my favorites a try? Tell them Haleigh told you to stop by…

Le Floréal | 73 Rue du Faubourg du Temple, 75010
The ideal spot for an hour of people watching, order up one of La Floréal's delicious and daring cocktails and enjoy it on the terrace in good company. The vibe is colorful and fun with a throwback to the 1970’s, but à la française of course.

Le Fumoir | 6 Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny, 75001
Over the years Le Fumoir has become quite a classic in Paris. Its dark leather and smooth lacquer paired with walls lined with bookshelves give it a timelessly handsome vibe. Just the kind of place to enjoy a classic cocktail like a martini. Don’t worry though, contrary to the suggestions of the name, you won’t find anyone smoking inside.

O Chateau | 68 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 75001
If you’re looking to try some great French wine while in Paris, look no further than O’Chateau. Rest assured any glass the friendly staff here recommends will please your palette. If you stick around long enough to work up an appetite, their plates of cheese and charcuterie are the perfect accompaniment to the wine list.

Les Etages Saint Germain | 5 Rue de Buci, 75006 Paris
If you’re looking for a bit of a rowdier vibe, this casual spot is known for their house mojito which you can either order as is or with a generous portion of strawberries in it. Perfect for larger groups, you’ll find plenty of places to sit with several stories to choose from to kick back and enjoy your drinks.

<![CDATA[Le Brunch…in Paris!]]>

Whether you’re in France or America, there is no dispute that brunch isn’t just a meal—it’s an event. Lately, I’m not much a of a night owl on the weekends. I prefer my beauty rest, which means I am more than prepared to pop out of bed Sunday mornings and get glammed up for a rendez-vous with friends, clients or the latest issue of VOGUE at one of my favorite brunch spots. For me it’s the perfect excuse to put on something nice, get out and pay no mind to the time.

Le Brunch in Paris There are plenty of places ranging from casual to chic, and popular to well-kept secrets, that I frequent. Some of my recommendations are either longstanding favorites or new discoveries. If you decide to give them a try when you’re in town, don’t be surprised if you find me there with a few of my best friends…

Rose Bakery | 3rd / 9th/ 11th arrondissments

Rose Bakery has a delicious farm-fresh vibe. The food is both healthy and tasty combining British and French influences indicative of the multinational owners and friendly staff. Any of their egg dishes are scrumptious. I also love their freshly made juices and baked treats like scones, carrot cake and more.

Barbershop | 11th arrondissement

Another great spot that merges the best of two worlds. This cozy yet hip place in the edgier east of Paris lets you choose between a traditional French or traditional English breakfast. And there are plenty of other options on the menu too.

Le Comptoir Général | 10th arrondissement

I’m not a huge fan of buffets, but the Comptoir Generale’s brunch is an eclectic and unique experience. In their large and eclectic warehouse-like space tucked away off the Canal Saint Martin, there is a family-friendly and social atmosphere that you can enjoy for hours with friends.

Hotel Costes | 1st arrondissement

If you’re in the mood for something swankier, I always love the ambience on the terrace at Hotel Costes. The food and white tablecloths are all quite traditional, but the clientele can be anything but. It’s a fun spot to people-watch, and during the day, a nice sanctuary of calm amidst the busy city.  

La Loire dans La Théiere | 4th arrondissement

This might be the place I recommend the most of all in Paris, not just because it’s in my neighborhood but because I’ve never found anywhere quite like it. Brunch offers delicious savory tarts with rustic ingredients, or fresh mint and herb omelets among other things. Add a hot chocolate or rose tea and your brunch is complete!

La Favorite | 4th arrondissement

When I don’t feel like going too far or planning ahead, I run down to La Favorite. The corner café is quite similar to Le Charlot, and a great meeting spot for friends to join up on Sunday morning from across the city. The menu covers everything from eggs Benedict to breakfast sandwiches and more lunch-style items. It’s always a trusty go-to.

Eggs & Co. | 6th arrondissement

The name says it all — enjoy eggs of any style a la whatever you like! Their coffees are delicious as well, served with a chocolate-covered marshmallow bear that is a very cute touch!

Breakfast in America | 4th and 5th arrondissement

If you’re in Paris and really in need of a native meal, Breakfast in America is the place to go. Their typical American diner breakfast will make you feel like you’re anywhere but Paris. With your cup of joe accompanied by stacks of pancakes, waffles and breakfast burritos, it’s hard to leave here hungry.

Pamela Popo | 4th arrondissement

Pamelo Popo is a darling place to stop in for any meal or even just drinks, but their brunch is especially delicious with fresh-squeezed juices, gourmet bagel plates and plenty of egg options. The décor is feminine, quirky and colorful, and sure to start your day off on a cheery note!

<![CDATA[Tea Time in Paris]]>

The beginning of September in Paris is the time of la rentrée, the moment when Parisians come back from their month of holidays to get back into the swing of normal life. With everyone returning to town, we’re all eager to catch up with friends we haven’t seen in weeks. Starting September 1st, every free moment on the calendar begins to fill up with rendez-vous amongst friends. In fact, as I sit and write this, I’m in a tiny café tucked away below Pigalle waiting for a friend to join me over tea and catch up.

Paris Rendezvous

And so, there is no better time to visit Paris’s many tearooms and enjoy them during such visits. Like wine or perfume, the French take tea very seriously. All it takes is one visit to the Mariage Frères here to understand. Gentlemen dressed in white coats stand in front of rows and rows of tea in canisters behind them at the counter, cataloged to a T (pun intended) for you to sample to your heart’s desire. They have so many, in fact, that the menu for the tea room is actually an entire book, each with an in-depth description of the hundreds of teas they have on hand from all over the world. It’s a well kept little secret, but it is actually the French Mariage Frères that supply the tea to Harrod’s in London that is rebranded as British. Even though our neighbors to the North are typically more known for tea time, France’s history with tea is utterly evident at Mariage Frères and beyond.

Another one of my favorite tea rooms in Paris is Nina’s. Here things are slightly more simple. In fact, Nina’s is known for one tea in particular, a light rose blend with a hint of apple. But not just any apples, apples that come from the garden of Versailles. So it’s fitting that here you can enjoy tea in typical Marie Antoinette style, perched on perfectly pink Louis XVI chairs. If you ever visit, I recommend indulging in a slice of their cake as well. I can’t think of a more perfect place for a tea time this time of year to catch up with girlfriends.

Should you find yourself in Paris, here is a list of my favorite places for a quintessentially French tea time.

Le Peninsula — The Lobby restaurant at The Peninsula Hotel in the chic 16th arrondissement offers a beautiful modern French tea service complete with savory and sweet snacks and your accompanying tea served hot or iced... rcomme vous voulez!

Mariage Frères — My favorite Mariage Frères location is in the Marais. They have probably the most extensive selection of teas you will find anywhere in the world, and you will even find a charming small tea museum upstairs. It’s also the perfect place to pick up some teas as souvenirs to take home.

Nina’s Paris — As I mentioned, this is one of my favorite places in Paris. Hidden just behind the Place Vendôme, it is always quiet with a very kind staff to welcome you.

Lily of the Valley — This sweet little spot in the Haute Marais is a very welcome new addition to Paris in recent years. Their collection of vintage tea cups is simply adorable, and their wide selection of teas can be enjoyed with a few of their fresh made desserts.

Ladurée — For another very special tea time in Paris, visit Ladurée’s location in the 6th arrondissement. The tea rooms decor is Asian-inspired, infused with the iconic pastels of the brand and utterly peaceful. I suggest their Marie Antoinette tea with a Rose Religieuse pastry.

<![CDATA[Lancôme Loves St. Jude: Spread the Love]]>

Dear friends, a new post comes a little early this week as I wanted to share with you something special. Each year Lancôme raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. If you don’t already know St. Jude, it is a leading research and treatment hospital for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Paris Rendezvous

Lancôme has made it easier than ever to make a donation to this special place. All you have to do is spread the love by sharing a photo of your hand heart on Instagram or Twitter before the end of this week with the hashtag #LancomeLovesStJude. For every hand heart shared, Lancôme is donating $1 (up to 10k) to St. Jude. Also, for every purchase you make until October 24th Lancôme will donate another dollar to St. Jude. Both are small gestures that go beyond just a donation, but are also heart filled ways to show the kids fighting tough battles everyday at St. Jude that we support them.

And what about after this week? I am happy to announce that Lancôme will be fundraising for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital year round now with the new option each time you shop on lancôme-usa.com to make a donation at checkout. Make a purchase. Make a difference.

I’ve already posted my hand heart on Instagram this week with a photo I took at sunset on the beautiful Pont Alexandre III. Even though in Paris I’m on the other side of the world from the children at St. Jude, I wanted to send them a little ray of sunshine from the City of Light. I hope you will join me in doing the same by making a purchase this week and sharing your own hand heart with #LancomeLovesStJude before October 24th or donating every time you shop on lancome-usa.com year round.

<![CDATA[Paris Plage: A Beach on the Banks of the Seine]]>

For those Parisians who can’t make it to the beach in August, the beach comes to them! For one month each summer the banks of the river are made into a place for a Seine-side holiday called Paris Plage.

Paris Rendezvous

Plage means beach in French, and no beach is complete without some sand! For Paris Plage the city hauls in ton after ton of sand to create an actual sandy shore stretching from Hotel de Ville to Pont Louis Philippe. It’s the perfect place to lounge and catch some sun, Parisian style of course so no swimsuit required! If you prefer the shade, there are comfy recliners and umbrellas galore ideal for an afternoon read by the river. And if you forgot your book, no problem. This year Paris Plage even installed a miniature library lending books to visitors! If you want to beat the heat, cool off with some scoops of ice cream from one of the many vendors in French floral flavors like orange blossom, lavender, and violet as well as all the usual favorites.

When evening rolls around, the boats docked at the shores of the Seine for summer turn into cafes and bars hosting diners aboard and at tables along the banks. Here with a verre of your favorite French wine you can listen to live jazz and more from local and international bands who come down to Paris Plage to serenade the Seine-goers. From the tables you can people watch the passersby (a favorite Parisian past time), feel the last rays of the sun set before your eyes, and let the sundowner breezes brush through your hair.

For a moment, you might even forget you’re in Paris at all. But then again, why leave this amazing city when in summer we have it all, even the beach! See you at Paris Plage


How often do you have the occasion to dress up and do something glamorous? It seems in the modern age these occasions are less and less. But one of the things I love about living in Paris is one can always find an occasion worthy of a gorgeous dress, heels, and makeup. One such occasion is the Opera.

Paris has two Opera houses. Both located on the right bank, the Opéra Bastille lies in the more contemporary east of Paris. The mise-en-scene of the operas and ballets performed here often follow this more modern approach in their interpretations. In the west, the historic Opera Garnier stands in all its glory as one of the most beautiful and ornate buildings in the world. It is a beacon of glamour and ceremony of ages past. Today its doors remain open and curtains pulled, for all those who still revel in its elaborate architecture and presentations that fill it.

Paris Rendez-vous

Several years ago I had the pleasure of attending the Opera Bastille, but seeing an opera or ballet at the more famous Opera Garnier has remained on my bucket list. I’ve always felt it’s important to save some experiences to look forward too. After six years in Paris, I’ve done so many incredible things but this was a moment I waited on to enjoy.

When I finally decided to go recently on a special night, I savored every element of it. From getting ready that evening to taking a seat in its famous burgundy balconies beneath Marc Chagall’s painted ceiling, to the moment the curtains drew to a close.

The Opera Garnier is an incredible experience I recommend everyone to add to their Paris bucket list. It’s more than worth dressing up for…I hope you’ll find a glamorous occasion to do so soon as well.


Waking up in Paris everyday for me feels like a gift in itself. It seems my favorite ones I have received here over the years are intangible, as many of the best gifts in life are. Friendship, wisdom, and this beautiful city itself are truly what come to mind. But now and then, a little token of those experiences and people here are lovely little reminders of them.

When it comes to gifting, at least one rule is universal, it is the thought that counts the most. That being said, in France there are certain customs that have come about as guidelines for gifting. The occasion for which arises often here, most of all with the upcoming holidays as the season’s gatherings begin filling the calendar. To gift in good taste, consider the art of French gifting, the golden rules of which I thought I’d share with you here…

Paris Rendez-vous

• Give a good quality gift, or none at all.

• Presentation is just as important.

• Be thoughtful and write a hand written note to accompany your present.

• Don’t be too concerned with price. It is the quality and thought that count, not the cost.

• If you don’t know someone well, play it safe with some fine chocolates, champagne, or flowers to show gratitude.

• Always bring something for a host or hostess of events. For dinner parties, avoid wine unless you know them very well as they usually prefer to choose themselves.

• If gifting flowers, be sure to gift them in odd numbers, except for 7, 11, and 13 which some consider bad luck. Also avoid white flowers as they are for weddings, chrysanthemums and lilies which are reserved for funerals, and red carnations. All others fit perfectly into proper French etiquette.

• Be personal. If you know someone well, don’t be afraid to gift them books or music you think they will enjoy.

Of course, if you’re looking for the perfect gift for the women in your life, the gift of beauty is always acceptable, so why not share with her your favorite Lancôme products this season?

<![CDATA[Le Grand Palais des Glaces: Ice Skating in Paris]]>

Ice skating has always been close to my heart. When my mom was a child, she fell in love with it and trained as a competitive figure skater. In her twenties she gave up competing but continued teaching skating to kids to earn money while going to school. When she had girls of her own, me and my sister, she taught us too!

Paris Rendezvous

Growing up it was always a special treat to go skating with her. Our hometown didn’t have a rink so we would often drive several hours to go. As much as I enjoy gliding around the rink myself, it has always been watching my mom do her little twirls and axels that delights me the most. Going ice skating together has since remained a festive tradition in our family. It’s always on our agenda during the holidays and over the years we’ve skated such iconic places as Rockefeller Center and Central Park. I knew when we got the chance to finally ice skate in Paris together, it would be absolutely unforgettable because Paris has a way of making even the most special moments that much more magical.

And so one starry Paris night we bundled up and got out our skates and headed to the Grand Palais. I never imagined that one day we would be gliding across the ice together beneath the glass ceiling of this iconic Paris building. The Grand Palais was constructed at the turn of the 20th century in the style of the beaux-arts with its glass vaulted ceilings that can be spotted from nearly anywhere along the Paris skyline. The Palais has hosted some of the most historical events in Paris in its lifetime including many of the World Fairs and greatest art expos, auctions and fashion shows! In addition, many years during the holidays it’s now home to the world’s largest ice rank!

Beneath the twinkling lights shining across the rink and the music filling the Grand Palais, we spent the evening twirling, spinning, jumping, and gliding. Best of all though we were laughing and smiling. Just as I expected, it was an unforgettable magic night in Paris that I wouldn’t have rather shared with anyone else! I hope if you make it to Paris this time of year you too will treat yourself to this enchanting experience at Le Grand Palais des Glaces!