Thursday, January 31, 2013

Things that make me happy: January chic list

Anyone else out there feeling like the first month of 2013 passed by in a blink of an eye? I'm not sure I can grasp the fact that today is the last day of January. Does the time fly even faster in 2013? Or is it just me? Anyways, even if I concluded the month of January in bed, with a nasty flu and without my computer, it was still a lovely month full of pretty little details and rose-tinted experiences. Here is the glimpse at what my January 2013 was all about:

1. Loving: Peerless Charm Jewelry. I had the pleasure of interviewing Lauren, the utterly talented jewelry designer behind this brand for my Brunch with a blogger series, and it made me fall in love with her collections even more (if it was even possible). I've been wearing my Peerless Charm bib necklace and pearl earrings practically every day. And because the Valentine's day is creeping up on us, Lauren and I have a big surprise for all of you. Be sure to check back tomorrow to see, what we have in store (pun intended) for you!

2. Reading: Julia Child: My life in France. This is hands down my favorite book from my January reading list. Getting lost in Julia's lively and exuberant story, reading all about her years spent in Paris and Marseille, about the incredible creative process that led to the publishing of Mastering the art of French cooking: it was such a treat for my soul! All I want to do now is buy all her cookbooks, download every single one of her TV shows, and not leave my kitchen for days. Fabulous book!

3. Coveting: Diptyque Rose Duet. My recent shopping experience at Diptyque in Paris has turned me into a Diptique addict. I've been wearing Do Son every single day and burning my Jasmine candle to feel a little bit glamorous even with a flu, and now I have my eyes set on the Valentine's day special edition, which blends together two Diptyque's signature scents: Baies and Rose. A must.

4. Watching: Glee. I'm obsessed with this show. Every episode teaches me about the importance of dreaming, dreaming more, believing in my dreams, and making them happen. Plus, the singing performances are so unbelievably beautiful and touching, that they often bring me to tears. Inspiring. 

5. Drinking: Homemade hot chocolate on a stick. Ever since I tried my hands on this DIY project, I never ever want to drink a hot chocolate made of powder again. Nothing equals the richness and  decadence of a true dark or milk chocolate melted in a mug of steaming hot milk. This is the ultimate winter comfort drink. 

6. Buying: Fresh tulips and Sparkling baubles from Asos.  My whole country can be covered in a thick layer of snow, I don't care. I have my eyes (and mind) set on spring (especially on spring makeup and cheerful spring decorating projects), and I can't go a week without buying a bouquet of brightly colored tulips at my grocery store. They liven up my desk, smell heavenly and they make me even more impatient about the arrival of the first days of spring. And when it comes to Asos gem drop earrings, I'm a firm believer that a girl can never have enough sparkle in her life. 

7. Wearing: Elegant winter coat and high heeled boots. Even if my mind is set firmly on spring days, I'm not that crazy as to challenge the snow-covered sidewalks wearing my patent leather pumps. Warm boots are an essential winter staple, but I'm never one to compromise style over comfort. A trench-inspired tweed coat and leather knee-high boots are my most faithful winter companions, permitting me to survive the cold days in style. 

8. Listening to: Harry Potter soundtracks. I have all 8 CDs on repeat while working on my blog and writing projects. I don't like to work in complete silence, but radio tubes usually distract me from my ideas. Movie music is the best compromise, and it provides the perfect backdrop to laying my ideas and words on paper (or, more often, in the blog post editor). 

9. Eating: Chocolate. My ultimate comfort when I'm sick with flu. Enough said.

10. Dreaming of: Vacation on a far away island. White sand, clear blue sea, no internet connection, a stack of books and magazines, and an unlimited supply of Cosmopolitan. My idea of heaven right now. A girl can dream, right? 

What are the things that've been making you happy in January? I would love to know!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Inspired by: Diamonds on a black canvas

Images via Madame Figaro

I have been MIA these past few days for a simple reason: that nasty flu that's been flying around for a while has finally caught up with me, and I've spent my weekend and half this week in a sort of fever-inducing coma. Not a very inspiring state. It seems that not even I have an unlimited source of energy, and all that working around the clock has its consequences. Can you believe that my doctor has even forbidden me to switch on my computer? I can honestly say that following her orders did me a lot of good. I'm the type of person who unplugs from work only if she's forced to do it.
I'm slowly easing back into a normal functioning, but I think I'll have to be a lot more sensible about my schedule and my expectations. But that doesn't mean that my blog would get on a back burner! I miss you, my blogging friends, too much already!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Brunch with a blogger and entrepreneur: Vannessa Vinos, of Decadence for Divas

Ever since I started this blog, I've had the chance to get to know some of the most wonderful and inspiring women in the world. Even if I've never met most of them in person, I still call them my friends, because we share the same passions and obsess over the same things. And since I love sharing the most amazing things and finds with you, it feels only appropriate to introduce you to these fabulous ladies, while having a virtual Sunday brunch with them (you can find all the previous interviews here). 

Today, I'm very happy and proud to introduce you to a very special guest: my friend Vannessa, the lovely author of an inspiring blog Decadence for Divas, and a talented businesswoman behind the online jewelry boutique Luxuria Jewellery.
There are only a handful of people who can claim that they witnessed my blogging debuts, and Vannessa is one of them. She was one of the first bloggers to leave thoughtful comments on my posts, she's always been generous with words of support and she's always been there when I needed a word of advice (after all, she is a trained coach, and a really good one!). Her career is one of the most fascinating ones: she worked as a criminal psychologist in London, then packed her bags and moved to Spain, where, inspired by Spanish women and their inner art of accessorizing, launched a successful jewelry business, Luxuria Jewellery. Somewhere along the way, she managed to become a Cordon Blue trained chef. Now relocated back to London, this self-proclaimed foodie and serial dieter has always managed to find enough time for reading good books and blogging about life, business and everything in between. Her blog, Decadence for Divas, is a constant source of inspiration on how to live a better, more beautiful, sparkly and successful life.

Vannessa is not only generally fabulous, she's also very kind and generous (a killer combo, don't you think?). She is now offering the readers of Macarons and Pearls a 20% discount on any piece of jewelry (except for the friendship bracelets) from her online boutique Luxuria Jewellery. Now, if that's not a tempting offer...(drop Vannessa an email at vanessa (at) to get your discount code).
But before you go off shopping for some fabulicious sparkly gems, let's discover all the things that are rocking Vannessa's world right now:

My favorite books: Best fiction book would be The Kite Runner (I don't read that much fiction, but this one left me thinking about it months after I finished it). Best non-fiction? Too many to mention, but the one that really turned my life around is a little book written more than 100 years ago called The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles. It's not actually about making money but about fulfilling your dreams. In fact, the film The Secret was based on the book.

 My style icon: I would have to choose Jennifer Aniston.

My favorite magazine: Red Magazine (I think it's only available in the UK)

My favorite scents: In the winter it's Zen by Shiseido and in the summer Diorella by Dior, or O by Lancôme.

My favorite movie scene: The finale of Grease when Olivia Newton John appears in those diva trousers.

My guilty pleasures: OMG! where do I start? OK, cashmere bed socks and Ben and Jerry's ice-cream, I'll take any flavor, just bring the spoon-no bowl needed ;-), a rich moisturizing cream (I'm a sucker for creams) and acupuncture sessions.

My favorite accessories: My Bulgari watch and ring.

One thing I can't live without: My Apple Macbook

Always in my closet: Black cashmere polo-neck jumpers.

My favorite song: 'Just the Two of us' by Grover Washington.

My favorite blog: There isn't one that I go to first every morning, but there are a few I always check into (even if I don't always comment), and one of those is yours. I think I've been following yours since the very early days.

My life mantra: "If you have the choice of being right or kind......... choose kind". As you get older it's no longer important to be right, but being kind, absolutely.

Thing I am most proud of: My marriage.

Best blogging advice I've ever received: Be authentic when blogging.

My style in 3 words: Classic, casual, neutral (in color) I'm not great with wearing color which is why my jewelry is very colorful I suppose. A little color can just pick up an outfit in so many different ways. So I rely on my accessories/jewelry to bring color into my outfit.

Thank you so much, Vannessa, for sharing this brunch with me, and for spilling a few of your secrets and philosophies!

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Inspired by: Unapologetically feminine interiors

Images via Style at Home

I've been feeling a little bit under the weather lately (must be the lack of sunshine or that damn flu). I feel like a prolonged vacation on some far away sunny island (preferably without wifi) would be in order. Unfortunately, I'm nowhere near of breaking the bank and flying off to St. Barts (after all, I think they are fully connected to the internet over there). That's why I've been scouring the internet in search of colorful, optimistic, and pretty inspiration (like this extraordinarily beautiful spring makeup by Dior), and that's why I instantly fell in love with this bright, cheerful and unapologetically girly pad featured in Style at Home

I believe that your home should always reflect your character and the things you love. Of course, if you're living with your boyfriend or husband, there are many compromises to be made, but even living with a man should never prevent you from letting your true personality shine brightly. And if that means adding pops of bright pink and orange here and there, then be it!

Ideas to steal:

Chanel is always a good idea: three matching prints above the sofa prove that the owner knows her fashion abcs. 
Floral patterned pillows adding a pop of fun and color to the neutral beige sofa.
Studded white tray as an original and unexpected accent piece. 

Ideas to steal:

Dark brown oval dining table and matching Louis chairs. This is the epitome of dining room glamour to me. 
All the feminine and sophisticated accents: tiered white cake stand, soup bowl and tea tin used as vases, overflowing with pink blooms. Of course, pink macarons are always the perfect finishing touch.
Black and white statement chandelier: the ultimate nod to the old Hollywood glamour.

Ideas to steal:

White lacquered tray holding bar cart essentials.
Bright orange birdcage as an accent piece.
The collection of Penguin clothbound classics as part of the colorful decor. 

Ideas to steal: 

Fashion illustrations in black and white, right above the tufted headboard.
Combination of crisp white bedding and bright pink and Hermès orange accent pillows (these colors always remind me of Hermès carrés).
Colorful and uncluttered nightstand.

Penguin classics as accent pieces that add a pop of color to the white nightstand.
Orange tumbler as a vase.

Ideas to steal:

Sleek white office desk (Parsons, of course).
Overflowing vision board that allows you to keep track with all your dreams, goals and accomplishments. 
Statement purple rug.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Paris diaries: Diptyque

When I first started to plan my latest trip to Paris, Diptyque immediately jumped on my mind as one destination definitely not to miss. I've been admiring their story and craftsmanship for years, but only from afar. This time I actually decided to cave in, and make my very first purchase. Of course I've been swooning over their candles forever, but I was also tempted by their unique and head-turning perfumes. I opted for the Diptyque corner at Printemps Beauté, and I couldn't have made a better choice: I had a pleasure of meeting the loveliest and most competent assistant who made my whole shopping experience very special.

Jasmine candle was an obvious choice: I'm utterly in love with the jasmine scent, its delicate and rich fragrance that is so unique and recognizable among dozens of other scents. Surprisingly, I wasn't that much impressed by the Baies (which is all the rage in the blogosphere). Instead, I fell under the spell of Tuberose, which is probably going to be my next gift to myself (I'm a firm believer in buying gifts for myself: it's proven to be good for my soul!).

Shopping for a perfume can be a little bit daunting sometimes, due to the huge number of options out there. New scents are jumping at us practically every week (dare I say every day?), all of them promising to be the next big thing. But lately, I've been drawn to a more unique and special scents, and in this department, Diptyque (alongside with Annick  Goutal or Artisan Parfumeur) is a clear winner to me.

The whole experience was extremely lovely and agreeable: the assistant, who took me under her wing, spent a great deal of time walking me through every single scent, explaining their composition. Then we had a long discussion about the scents I love (florals with powdery undertones), that I have some beautiful memories attached to, and of course, those I simply can't stand (in my case, all the scents that are overly woodsy or spicy). She picked up four scents that matched my criteria, spritzing them on little papers for me to try out. After much deep inhaling, I singled out two fragrances: L'Ombre dans l'eau (with the notes of blackcurrants and Bulgarian roses) and Do Son (bursting with tuberose and a selection of white flowers). The assistant put a spritz of each one on my wrists, then told  me to take a walk around the Printemps beauty floor, so the scents could properly develop and present me even with their deeper, more hidden notes. This was such a wonderful idea, because I truly got the opportunity to appreciate the perfumes in all their glory before making my final choice. I loved the softness of L'Ombre dans l'Eau (it would be a perfect spring and summer scent), but it was Do Son that truly stole my heart and it was the one I came back for.

The assistant described this fragrance as "un jardin anglais juste après la pluie" (an English garden just after the rain) which set my imagination running: I could almost see myself walking barefoot in the freshly mowed grass in the English countryside, wearing a lightweight white lace dress, inhaling deeply the intoxicating scent of tuberose covered in sparkling raindrops. I knew it was made for me.

This was truly the best perfume shopping experience I've ever had. My love for Diptyque now knows no boundaries, and I simply can't wait to organize my next trip to Paris, to explore this brand and its story some more.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Beauty: Chérie Bow by Dior

Images via

We're only nearing the end of January, and I'm already thoroughly fed up with winter. Those short lightning hours and long dark evening starting around 4pm have been seriously creeping up on me. I feel a very urgent lack of sunshine, vitamin D, fresh blooms and bright colors in my life. That's why these beautiful pastel photos of new Dior makeup collection couldn't have arrived in my inbox at a better moment.

Dior's makeup collections are always a highlight of the season, but Spring 2013 has given all the previous collections a run for their money. Dior Chérie Bow was inspired by Christian Dior himself, and his undying love of bows, especially the brand's signature Fontanges bow. It has been translated quite wonderfully into the most magnificent makeup palette resembling an adorable bow clutch.

The whole collection is utterly feminine, girlie and channeling the spirit of haute couture, with pearlescent textures all dressed up in ballerina pinks, dove greys and smoky blacks. This look has immediately landed on my list of beauty trends to recreate. I'm especially in love with the soft rosy-grey somky eye (after all, one of my 2013 goals is to see life through rose-tinted filter), glamorous pink lips and the most feminine manicure. It's everything I love about spring!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Paris diaries: Ladurée

My love for macarons knows no boundaries, and it comes as no surprise that a visit to the enchanting world of Ladurée was on top of my list of things to do in Paris. I've been stalking their website for weeks prior to my trip, learning more about about their business and daydreaming about all the loveliness they offer: macarons, of course, but also inspiring cookbooks, deliciously scented candles and bliss-inducing tea. And of course, I put together a mile long wish list.

I had an immense pleasure of visiting two Ladurée boutiques, both almost too beautiful for words. The one near Madeleine (pictured above) was brimming with gorgeous sweet creations, but it was the one at Rue Bonaparte that stole my heart. The place is truly magical: with high ceilings and walls decorated with tapisseries, little round tables and antique chairs, pastel colored china and brass teapots, and decadent macarons and pastries wherever you look: this is the closest I've come to culinary heaven (you can see the snapshot of our feast here). It's a place that makes your head spin and your heart beat a little faster.

Besides savoring the most decadent and delicious pâtisserie I could dream of (Ispahan is THE thing to try when in Ladurée), I also indulged in shopping for one too many delicate and adorable goodies that have been making me smile ever since I got back home from my favorite place on earth. Don't you agree that the signature shades of green and pink look fantastic together, creating the perfect Marie Antoinettesque palette? I thought so!

Did you say eye candy?

The loveliest signature soft green packaging.

Macarons (you will have to excuse the lack of color: I devoured raspberry, rose and violet ones before I remembered to snap the pictures. You can't really blame me...)

I'm already looking forward to trying Ladurée's signature sweet (Sucré) and savory (Salé) recipes at home.

Macarons, candle and magazines.

Paris candle and delicate Marie Antoinette tea (a blend of delicious Chinese black tea, rose petals and citrus notes).

Secrets de beauté (beauty secrets): very inspiring and shopping envies-inducing magazine.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Paris diaries: Chic shopping

Oh yes, this happened.

It's been a month since I visited Paris, and I still haven't showed you all the photos from my wonderful trip (talk about bad time management!) I hope you won't regret being patient, and that you're ready for a photo overload! I can't deny that shopping for typical French delicacies, beauty miracles and enchanting little somethings that make life more beautiful is something that makes me infinitely happy. And the best thing? All these gems make me remember Paris long after I returned home, they turn my days from ordinary to extraordinary, and they make me enjoy my own la vie en rose every single day. I could hardly ask for more!

Let the photos speak for themselves. Oh, and I should tell you that Ladurée and Diptyque were so fabulous that they earned the right to their own posts. Stay tuned!

The lady at Chanel counter at Printemps was so adorable: when I told her that my purchase was a gift from me to myself, she made me the prettiest and the most glamorous package.

New additions to my Chanel nail polish collection: these four colors have been on constant rotation ever since I returned home just before Christmas (you could see some of them here and here)

I also picked up my first Estée Lauder nail polish in Smashed. It's such a pretty iridescent purple and so perfect for winter!

I bought Annick Goutal's Petite Chérie as a gift for my mom. The problem is, I really fell in love with this feminine floral scent myself, and now I want it too! Luckily, my mom has given me the permission to borrow it sometimes.

I can hardly believe that this was the first time I ever set foot in Shakespeare & Co. Book worm that I am, this is really unforgivable! Of course, I instantly fell in love with this charming little place that resembles more an Ali Baba's cave than your ordinary bookshop. Piles on piles of books on every surface, the nostalgic scent of an antiquarian bookshop and the best selection of English-written books in Paris. In one word, heaven. I could hardly leave without picking at least two gems (I've already mentioned them in this post). The sweet shop attendant stamping them both with Shakespeare's effigy was the perfect finishing touch.

When it comes to cashmere, nothing beats the quality and softness of Eric Bompard, a quintessential French brand. Their flagship store on Champs Elysées is a heaven made in cashmere: sweaters, cardigans and accessories are available in every color possible (it strongly resembles a candy shop), and all you want to do is to snuggle in the softness and admire all the beautiful pieces. I picked up this adorable and chic beret, and I'm already saving up for this beautiful sweater.

Drinking delicious tea while reading an amazing book under a soft blanket is definitely one of my favorite wintery pursuits. I don't get to enjoy it as often as I would love to (too much work, too little time), but at least I can make myself a steaming cup of black tea whenever I want. Mariage Freres' concoctions have been my personal favorites ever since I discovered their charming tea shop in Marais for the first time four years ago. This time around, I picked up Earl Grey Provence, the English classic embellished with a touch of bergamot and dried lavender flowers; and Paris Breakfast tea, the classic black tea with zesty citrus notes.

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