Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Paris shopping list


As I mentioned yesterday, I'm leaving for Paris today, and I'm pretty excited (can you blame me?) I've had an extremely horrid week under my belt (one bad piece of news followed the other), and I feel like the best thing that I can do right now is to leave everything behind, let the problems resolve themselves and just enjoy life's little joys. And what better place to do this than the capital of French chic and joie de vivre

I'm also planning to take a week long blog break, hoping that even partial unplugging would help me rediscover my mojo. But don't worry, if you wish, you can still follow my Parisian adventures on Instagram and Twitter with a hashtag #ivanainparis: I wouldn't want to deprive you of all those pictures of croissants, macarons and Dior handbags ;) In the meantime, I'm leaving you with a little shopping eye candy: all the things I'm hoping to score in summer sales in Paris. Wish me luck!

I'm looking forward to seeing you back here next week. Until then, have a fantastic, successful and worry-free time!
2. Nuxe Huile prodigieuse & Huile prodigieuse Or, Limited Edition 2013


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Monday, June 24, 2013

My summer travel essentials


After all the rush, stress and worries that have defined the past few months, I'm finally ready to pack my suitcase,  unplug my computer and jet off to my favorite place in the whole world. I'm off to Paris tomorrow morning, and I couldn't be more excited. I'm leaving all the bad stuff behind (it will probably wait for me here, but who cares?), and I'm taking only my optimism, good mood and joie de vivre with me. The whole week will be about girls' talk, cocktails and cafés au lait sipped on the sunny Parisian café terraces, shopping the summer sales (Printemps, here I come!), eating tons of delicious meals and generally enjoying myself.

I thought it would only be appropriate to share my travel essentials with you. These are the things I never leave the house without, when I'm jetting off to some distant destination, and I would love to know: which are yours? Which items are always on your "must take with me" list?

1. An ample tote in buttery brown leather is an absolute must: it should have enough pockets for my various odds and ends, as well as for my iPad and camera. This one is not mine just yet, but I'm hoping I'll be able to score it in those infamous French summer sales (which, conveniently, kick off on Wednesday, just after my arrival). (Le Tanneur Manon). I am also loving the mint green option. Decisions, decisions...

2. Passport, of course, is a no-brainer. Theoretically I could travel with only my ID within the European Union, but no voyage feels genuine without my slightly battered bordeaux-colored passport.

3. To prevent my skin from becoming all parched by the AC in the airports and on the planes, I always have a little bottle of Avene mineral water on hand. (Avene Eau Thermale, Spring water)

4. As much as I love my trusty Nikon 3100, it's not exactly a lightweight item to carry around. I've been contemplating investing into this powerful but compact option instead. It would make for a perfect travel companion. (Nikon J1)

5. This book will come in handy if the French flight dispatchers decide to go on their usual summer strike. Plus, since I truly hate delayed flights, I always have to have at least one "can't-put-downable" book in my bag. No magazine has ever managed to capture my attention enough to prevent me from becoming all antsy, nervous and all-around insupportable. Only a great book can do that. And since I literally devoured Beatriz Williams' debut Overseas last Saturday, I'm pretty sure I'm in for another such treat with her second book, A hundred summers.

6. Great hand cream is another necessity. This one was just perfect: not greasy at all, with moisturizing and firming effects. Plus, it was such a good value! I was so bummed to learn it was discontinued! I just hope that its successor will be up for the challenge! (Sally Hansen Smooth & perfect hand cream)

7. I always carry around a notebook and at least three pens (just in case). And could there be anything more classic than a Moleskine? I scored this Paris version a while back, and I've been itching to fill it with my Parisian finds, travels and experiences. It has the city map inside, a plan of the Métro and a space dedicated to all the best restaurants, shops as well as "Places dreams and adventures". Perfection. (Moleskine City notebook, Paris)

8. I've been collecting colorful scarves for years, and I've been known to carry one in my bag even in the middle of summer (just in case). This Kate Spade option is just too pretty to pass up: I mean, it's white, black and pink, what's not to love? It will come very handy once the plane is up in the air, with its aggressive AC on full speed. (Kate Spade New York Deborah dot scarf)

9. iPad. What would we, globetrotting bloggers, do without this faithful companion? With him, blogging on the go, answering comments and emails and tweeting are just a cinch.

10. I hate running late, that's why my watch never leaves my wrist. I mean, what could be more helpful when you're trying to catch a plane?  (Sekonda Gold Bracelet Watch)

11. & 13. A map of Paris and Métro tickets always have their place in my purse. Nothing makes me happier than discovering new and unexpected coins of the city!

12. With this little miracle my lips are never dry or chapped. Best. lip balm. ever! (Korres Jasmine Lip Butter)



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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Weekend notes & link love #7

Image via Jacquelyn Clark of lark & linen for Style me pretty living


This recipe makes me want to give oatmeal a second chance. (via A Beautiful mess)

Had the severest case of wanderlust after seeing these gorgeous Amalfi coast photos. A dream, right? (via Style me Pretty Living)

I'm head over heels in love with the Resort 2014 collections. I wish I could wear nothing but Alice + Olivia, Dior, Erdem, Stella McCartney and Monique Lhuillier this summer! (via Style.com)

I loved getting tips on how to be a goal-getter from Joy (part 1 and part 2). Seriously, there's nothing this girl can't do. (via Oh, Joy!)

Wishing you all a fabulous Sunday!



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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

From my kitchen: Strawberry, basil & rosé summer drink


You may remember seeing these drinks in my latest food post. As I already mentioned, I've been on a strawberry kick lately, experimenting with different flavors, venturing into the world of both sweet and savory, and generally enjoying every single minute of it.
I love fresh strawberries to pieces and I love a glass of delicious summer rosé, so it was only a matter of time before I paired them both in one recipe. I threw a bunch of basil leaves to the mix for a good measure, and then marveled at the simplicity and deliciousness of this flavor combo.

And what's best about this recipe is that it can work both as a sweet cocktail, or a light dessert after a rich summer barbecue party. Don't you just love when something works a double duty?

Strawberry, basil & rosé

You'll need:

* fresh strawberries (4-5 per person), rinsed, halved
* 1tbsp unrefined cane sugar
*  fresh basil leaves (1-2 per person), you can also use mint 
* chilled rosé

1. Place halved strawberries in a bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Cover with plastic and let rest at room temperature for half an hour. 
2. After half an hour, add basil leaves cut in thin stripes. Shake gently and let sit for another half an hour.
3. Place marinated strawberries with basil leaves in tall glasses, pour in the chilled rosé and serve immediately.

Cheers!


PS: A little reminder: As you may already know, Google will be shutting Google Reader down as of July 1st. If you don't want to miss any Macarons & Pearls updates (why would you, right? :), you can switch to Bloglovin, or follow my blog via Twitter or Facebook. I'm already looking forward to seeing you there!
 



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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Inspired by: Dior Cruise 2014 Collection

Images via Style.com

It doesn't happen often that I become so enamored with a runway collection that I want to reach out through my laptop screen, tear every single outfit from the model's body and stuff it into my own closet. But that's exactly what happened with Christian Dior Cruiset 2014 collection. It's no secret that I'm pretty much obsessed with every single thing Raf Simons designs. I believe that he's doing such a wonderful job modernizing this venerable old couture house, that even Mr. Dior himself would approve. His feminine, structured and simple silhouettes are so refreshing after those crazy Galliano years (whose work, to be honest, I never really liked). 

This resort collection, which was presented in Monte Carlo, is nothing short of fabulous, stunning and glamorous. It's all about feminine silhouettes , models are draped in silky asymmetrical dresses, the trousers are perfectly tailored, the lace details and pieces couldn't be more delicate and the classic colors like black and white are livened up with pops of bright orange, fuchsia or blue Klein. It also seems that peplum is definitely here to stay, which makes me really happy.

This is definitely my favorite resort 2014 show (alongside the always fabulous Oscar de la Renta), and I strongly recommend you watch it on the video: seeing the models move, the dresses float around their bodies and the colors swivel in front of your eyes, makes for a perfectly enchanting experience.  Be prepared to be inspired.





Watch the video:





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Monday, June 17, 2013

From my kitchen: Strawberry crostini


In spring and summer, I'm all about easy and quick recipes. The last thing I want to do is to spend hours by my stove, cooking elaborate dishes involving meat or potatoes. Nope. My summer go-to recipes always involve fresh greens (baby spinach or arugula), ripe fruit and veggies, grains (I've only recently discovered bulgur, and I'm putting it practically into every salad I make) and bread. And cheese, of course. There's really nothing better than taking advantage of all the fresh and delectable produce that's overflowing on the farmer's markets.

Take strawberries. I would never ever buy strawberries in the supermarket. They are bland, tasteless, suspiciously big, uniform and glossy. And after all the food-related scandals I've heard about in the past months, I can't even be sure what they are fertilized with. Just thinking about it is giving me chills. I am extremely lucky to have a strawberry farm just 15-minute car ride from my place, and during the season I make a trip there at least once a week. And since the strawberry season is so short, I'm trying to take full advantage of it by experimenting with different recipes and putting strawberries into just about every dish.

 When I first spotted this recipe on Jeanine's and Jack's blog, I knew immediately I had to give it a try. Crostini are among the easiest summer appetizers, they are colorful and pretty and they fall into my favorite category of bite-size food. And who would have thought that strawberries paired so well with balsamic? So far, it's my best taste discovery of this summer.

And don't forget: these crostini taste the best served with a glass of chilled rosé. You can take my word for it!

Strawberry crostini
 (adapted from Love and Lemons)

You'll need:

* fresh baguette, sliced
* fresh mozzarella, sliced
* strawberries, rinsed and sliced
* 1/4 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
* salt
* fresh basil leaves

1. Make the balsamic reduction: In a small saucepan, heat the balsamic vinegar until it starts simmering. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes. It should reduce its volume by half and become thick like syrup.
2. In the meantime, sprinkle the strawberry slices with salt (with a very light hand, I might add), and set aside.
3. Toast or grill your bread slices.
4. Place the mozzarella slices on the bread, add strawberry slices and top with a fresh basil leaf or two.
5. Add a drizzle of balsamic reduction and serve immediately.

Bon appétit!


PS: A little reminder: As you may already know, Google will be shutting Google Reader down as of July 1st. If you don't want to miss any Macarons & Pearls updates (why would you, right? :), you can switch to Bloglovin, or follow my blog via Twitter or Facebook. I'm already looking forward to seeing you there!
 


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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Weekend notes & link love #8

Image via Style me Pretty Living

 My favorite reads of the week. Enjoy, and have a fabulous Sunday!


Emily Schuman has always been my ultimate blogging icon, and I loved coming back to her interviews here, here and here, for inspiration, motivation and a honest, no-nonsense approach.

Camille Styles is another fabulous style maven that never ceases to amaze and inspire me. Gorgeous, intelligent and successful, it would be easy to hate her if she weren't so kind, supportive and lovely! (via Style me Pretty). Oh, and this feature in Rue Daily is equally fabulous! Camille rocks! (via Rue Daily)

Eva Daiberl's fun and inviting white, pink and gold home makes me happy! I've picked tons of inspiration for my upcoming home décor projects. (via The Everygirl)

Every single flower, every last prop...everything about this Wes Andersen-inspired wedding screams perfection! (via 100 Layer Cake)


My friend Debra released three new gorgeous prints (think vintage books & glamorous dresses), and I've been trying to decide which one to pick for my gallery wall. Which one would you choose? (via Debra Lynn Mejia)

As far as bridal showers go, this one is by far my favorite. Classy, elegant and feminine. Really, would you expect anything less from Crystal Gentilello, the ultimate style maven? (via Rue Mag)

How adorable are these colorful striped juice & smoothie ice cubes? Perfect for summer entertaining! (via Oh Joy!)

Travel memory map? This DIY is exactly what I've been looking for! Such a fantastic and lasting idea! (via Oh happy day!)

I'm obsessed with sushi (I make it at home at least twice a week!), but I never thought of sushi salad before. I need to give it a try asap! (via Talia Christine)


PS: A little reminder: As you may already know, Google will be shutting Google Reader down as of July 1st. If you don't want to miss any Macarons & Pearls updates (why would you, right? :), you can switch to Bloglovin, or follow my blog via Twitter or Facebook. I'm already looking forward to seeing you there!
 


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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Real talk: Pay it forward


Yesterday, I had the most peculiar encounter in weeks. I was running some errands around town, including a visit to the post office.  A man was standing in front of the building, selling the magazine of homeless people. He got me intrigued: for once, he didn't look like a homeless person at all. Well dressed, shaven clean, and especially, all smiles. I paused to buy the magazine from him and he explained to me how he ended up on the street. Like so many others, he was trusting and imprudent, signing papers he shouldn't have signed, warranting for a friend's loan. And when one day, the executor appeared on his doorstep, there was nothing he could do. His story struck a chord with me, especially with regard to my current legal issues. But the most important thing I've taken from this encounter was his ability to still be optimistic and joyful. He was smiling at people who were passing him by, trying to ignore his presence. He expressed his immense gratitude towards everyone who stopped to buy his magazine, thus helping him to earn enough money to pay his food and a night at the shelter. He said many thanks to me, but I think I was even more grateful for meeting him. He made my day brighter and more inspired, and for that, he deserves my gratitude and admiration. I was just trying to pay it forward, but I got so much more in return!

I would love to know, how do you pay it forward? Do you volunteer for charities, donate blood or the things you no longer use, or money to any cause?

I'm wishing you all a lovely, and worry-free weekend!

PS: A little reminder: As you may already know, Google will be shutting Google Reader down as of July 1st. If you don't want to miss any Macarons & Pearls updates (why would you, right? :), you can switch to Bloglovin, or follow my blog via Twitter or Facebook. I'm already looking forward to seeing you there!
 


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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Life's little luxuries #1

As a lover and admirer of all things pretty, chic and feminine, I am able to spend countless hours browsing the aisles of my favorite shops and department stores (both real and the virtual ones), discovering new beautiful things and products. At the same time, I'm a firm believer that life should be all about the little things that make us happy. I don't need a fancy island vacation every other month or a huge diamond on my finger to feel happy. It's the little, seemingly unimportant details that matter the most: a relaxing massage after a tiring week, a new book that's been sitting on my bedside table, waiting patiently for its turn, a beauty product that makes me feel gorgeous or a great meal, always including the dessert.

These little things gave me the idea for a new blog series: I'll be sharing my favorite life's little luxuries, that are making my everyday life more beautiful, stylish and chic. And the best part? They'll all be under $30. Proof, that luxe and glamour don't always have to cost you a fortune!


Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse
Carpe Diem Journal
Tiny galaxies pink earrings
Lavender, rose and geranium soap
 Fresh gerberas

PS: A little reminder: As you may already know, Google will be shutting Google Reader down as of July 1st. If you don't want to miss any Macarons & Pearls updates (why would you, right? :), you can switch to Bloglovin, or follow my blog via Twitter or Facebook. I'm already looking forward to seeing you there!

Also, as you may have noticed, I switched my comments to Disqus, and I hope it'll be easier for me to answer your comments and questions. Be sure to sign up with your email, so you are notified of my answers. Looking forward to connecting with you!



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