Friday, August 29, 2014

A Weekend In Marseille


There is one thing that's for certain: the south of France never disappoints. Yes, the alpes, rolling countryside, and lakes are swoon worthy, but a salty sea breeze and pretty flowers partout surely wins over my heart.

I was lucky enough to spend my birthday weekend on the beach in sunny, sandy Marseille. I love a good piece of fish, so this port city is the place for me. You can see a shot of the Vieux Port above, with its pretty boats lined up row by row. 


Despite being widely accessible by subway and bus, most tourist sites are within a reasonable walking distance from the town centre. One that was particularly close to my home that weekend was the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde. This basilica was truly spectacular, both in its ornate interior, and the view from above. 



I had also studied up on the MUCEM for a course earlier this year, so it was pretty cool textbook moment walking through the iconic museum in real life. Admission is free, and there only is a small fee for students to view the temporary exhibits. 

I was most amazed by the stunning architecture of the newest wing, which is suspended over the ocean coast on one side, seamlessly joining up with the ancient Fort Saint Jean on the other. The new building has a very detailed metal wall encircling, which provides a jungle-like filter out on the upper terrace.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Visiting Annecy, France


Tucked into the heart of the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France, Annecy is a small gem of a city that is just too pretty for words. The tastefully coloured streets are full of life, especially since August is peak tourist time. I was amazed by how many attractions are fit into such a teensy area. Although you do need to pay a slight premium for most things in town, I found things to be quite reasonable for the fabulous quality and breathtaking views.


I absolutely loved taking a little "pedalo" (paddle boat) around the lac d'Annecy. With some bright sunshine and warm weather, the view really speaks for itself. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My Top SPF's

The view from Notre Dame in Marseille, France

Last weekend as I was basking in the Mediterranean sun, (sorry, not sorry) I came to realize that a good, lightweight, non-greasy SPF is a real necessity throughout the warmer months. Besides, I hate the feeling of a sunburn and the thought of aged, leathery skin isn't very appealing. That being said, slathering on a thick, gluey SPF 60 3x per day also isn't going to happen. After weeks of testing, I've narrowed down my top 5 options for lightweight sun protection, ranging from drugstore to high-end.


Understanding Sun Protection Factor:

"If your skin would normally burn after 10 minutes in the sun, applying an SPF 15 sunscreen would allow you to stay in the sun without burning for approximately 150 minutes (a factor of 15 times longer) " - Badger Balm Site.

A safe bet in my opinion is an SPF of 30, labeled broad spectrum UVA/UVB. UVA rays cause long-term damage, like age spots, and UVB rays cause the immediate sun damage, which usually results in a burn. There is also a difference in the actual protective UVA ingredients in sunscreens, which can be categorized into "mineral" or "synthetic" protection. You can see more on "what the sun is doing to our skin" in a fun graphic here, on Paula's Choice.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Periwinkle Patterns

Scarf - C&A, Tank - Aritzia, Skirt - Forever 21, Belt and Bag - Vintage, Wedges - Natura

Although the weather here in Saint-Étienne has been much cooler on average than in years past, I'm not complaining since I'll take any excuse to invest in some new pants and scarves. Also, cool nights make sleeping much easier since a/c isn't a thing here. 

I was browsing around the local mall and happened to come across a gorgeous array of scarves at C&A (oh no!). I was captivated by all the unique colours and patterns on this soft summery scarf, and couldn't pass it up for 10 . I've been able to wear it with almost every outfit I have and can't wait to mix it in with my upcoming fall and winter wardrobe.




Friday, August 15, 2014

10 Things I'd Tell My Teenage Self


Even though my teenage years aren't far behind, I've been compiling a list of some simple lessons I've learned over the years that have somehow changed my outlook. It's important not to regret situations, but simply reflect on mistakes or downfalls and figure out how to avoid similar situations in the future. I've reached a point in my life where I'm able to take a step back, appreciate what I have, forget about what I can't change, and feel proud about where I am now. Its easy for negativity to take over positivity, but I've quickly come to realize the importance in making the effort to view people and situations in a more positive light.

1. Listen

People love to be listened to. You're also going to be taken more seriously if you show genuine care and respect for what other people have to say. Its definitely true that sometimes shutting up is much more powerful than speaking up.

2. Be proud of who you are, and what you do

Never be afraid to tell people what you're up to. That is, of course, without unnecessary exaggeration. If you find that you feel ashamed of your current situation, do as much as you can to start something new, and avoid doing the things that you wouldn't want to talk about. It's incredible how much easier life will when you stand behind who you are, what you're doing, and how you got there.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bronzed Glow Summer Makeup Inspiration







I'm absolutely loving how these days I can just sweep on some bronzer and mascara, then head outside in a tee and shorts. I haven't been tanning outside much, but I've definitely been using up some of my favourite self-tanners, which you can see more on here. For a night out last week, I did some more dramatic makeup and decided to share my products and steps. I got the inspiration for this glowy, bronzed look from a particular picture on Pinterest, linked here.



Monday, August 11, 2014

Deuxième semaine à Saint-Étienne

Il m'a fallu une semaine de surmonter mon décalage horaire. Le stress ! Mais heureusement, cette semaine je me sentais comme moi-même.

Au premier dimanche de chaque mois, je crois que tous les musées en France sont gratuits. Donc la semaine passée, j'ai visité le Parc-musée de la Mine du Puits Couriot avec mes amies.


Pour la visite du musée, nous portions des casques tout en étant guidé dans une petite mine crée pour le musée. Notre guide était bien-informé. Il nous a donné un aperçu de la vie quand un mineur de charbon a été une carrière populaire. Pendant cette période, les travailleurs pouvaient prendre leur retraite relativement tôt, et a obtenu un salaire décent pour soutenir leurs familles.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Mediterranean Chicken Salad


Salad is my thing. It's my go-to entrée at restaurants, and is easy enough to prepare at home. As a side dish, I tend to use leafy greens with a sweet balsamic dressing. For a main dish, I'll choose some more hearty ingredients to make sure it holds me over till my next meal. I'm a huge fan of salt and vinegar (mmm..chips) and definitely crave those savoury gems like olives and feta from time to time. I'm perfecting my meat-cooking skills and can now whip up a killer chicken breast in just a few minutes. Read on to see how I create this simple, mediterranean inspired salad with fresh and delicious ingredients. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Review: Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid - Salicylic Acid Exfoliant


I like to maintain a pretty gentle skincare routine, involving a light cleanser, spray toner, sometimes a treatment, and finally a moisturizer. Aside from using my Clarisonic Mia every night to cleanse, I don't use any abrasive exfoliants. I have sensitive skin and I find that the particles of many exfoliants are far too rough. I don't get many breakouts, but I do battle with large pores, redness and sun spots. After being annoyed with the feeling and sight of unevenness and blackheads, I decided to take action. What are these clogged pores? Why do they happen? How can I get rid of them?

Enter the 2% BHA Salicylic Acid liquid Exfoliant. I came across Paula's Choice on YouTube, after hearing popular faces like Wayne Goss rant and rave about her products. After browsing the site a few months back I decided to place my first order and brave "acids" once again. With free shipping over $50 and easy returns, I couldn't say no to the $20 price tag. To better understand the ins and outs of my skin type, please refer to the post linked here.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Première semaine à Saint-Étienne


Bonjour tout le monde et bienvenue à Saint-Etienne ! Ça fait une semaine que je me suis m'installée ici pour un programme de langue qui dure un mois. Après, je vais voyager avec ma soeur à Paris, Amsterdam et Bruxelles. C'est une vraie aventure européenne. J'ai rencontré des gens super et je commence à faire de la bonne cuisine. Les deux grandes excusions que nous avons faites sont la ferme des 3 granges, une dégustation de vins et visite d'un Prieuré.  

Quelques vaches et chèvres. Mmm.. fromage.
À la ferme, nous avons fait du beurre et du fromage. La famille qui tient la ferme était tellement gentille et passionnante. Leur amour pour la terre et les animaux est inspirante. Ils ne cessent jamais de travailler. J'ai aimé découvrir comment ils cultivent les produits bio avec les nouvelles  technologies et les valeurs traditionnelles.


Vendredi a été consacré à la dégustation de vins et à la visite d'un Prieuré. Les vues étaient formidables, avec une belle histoire qui a été présentée pendant le tour. J'ai acheté du rosé moelleux qui s'appelle Mousseline Gamay. Il a un goût merveilleux et le vin ici est évidemment pas très cher.


Et enfin, un petit café et une bière. Bonne cuisine et boissons sont tellement importantes pour les Français. J'ai bien hâte de profiter encore plus de ce que Saint-Étienne peut offrir. J'espère que la météo sera plus agréable aussi !

xx

Friday, August 1, 2014

HowTo Make Maple Glazed Salmon On Wild Rice


As I continue to ameliorate my cooking skills, I am now able to rhyme off some super easy, delicious dishes for the average starving student. I'm living in a small apartment in France for the next few weeks and only have access to a cooktop for making my meals. This particular dish is well-suited for my living space, and is rich in sweet and salty flavours. It's definitely one of my favourites and can easily be whipped up in half an hour. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Top Self-Tanners


Fact: I feel significantly better about myself and the world when I have a tan. 
Also fact: my sensitive, pale skin gets spottier and spottier as the years roll on. 

Fortunately for us, there is a way to have one, but not the other. I've been testing sunless tanners for a solid 3 years and have finally decided on my top 5 options on the market. 

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