travels

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Hello there. :-) It’s been a while! How are you?

In the past few weeks I’ve been traveling through the southern Europe on a work-related assignment during which my wardrobe consisted out of mostly black pieces, with a few white garments in between. Since I planned on travelling to a couple of different locations over the course of several weeks, I tried to minimize on the actual quantity of items.

Now, for me this is somewhat a challenge because I usually tend to overpack and also considering the fact that right now the weather is extremely unpredictable, so you have to think of every possibility and still try and look presentable. This experiment in downsizing however proved to be a success, because I ended up wearing most of these items and felt comfortable throughout.

On most days I had meetings and that’s where I usually wore jeans or trousers with dressy tops and oxfords (or when the meeting was entirely informal, I’d switch oxfords for sneakers). For breakfast and coffee runs in the morning I’d just put on a tshirt and shorts and sunglasses. The evening wardrobe depended on wether I was going out for dinner somewhere formal or just a small local place.

To sum it up, my monochromatic travel wardrobe included:

TOPS – casual
black t-shirt
white t-shirt
black top with white stripes
white top with black stripes

black crew-neck jumper
dark grey sweatshirt

TOPS – dressy
structured short sleeved top*
draped long sleeved top with contrasting fabric*
dark grey semi-sheer button shirt
crisp white cotton shirt with short sleeves

BOTTOMS
cotton shorts*
skinny cotton trousers*
dark grey cropped jeans
chinos*

DRESSES
white t-shirt dress

SHOES
adidas sneakers*
black patent leather oxfords*
sandals*

JACKETS
COS cotton coat*

BAGS
small suede cross-body bag*
canvas tote

(*black)

This list obviously doesn’t include intimates, sleepwear, etc

The white t-shirt dress above is the white Raquel Allegra from the last post. Upon closer examination, the white didn’t feel nearly as precious as I imagined it to be, while the cut draped beautifully. I even wore it to dinner one night! It has just the right touch of luxe in an otherwise classic summer dress.

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As far as skincare is concerned, these days I’m pretty much set with a bottle of La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra moisturiser (which I use daily under my make-up and at night after cleaning my face) and their wonderful sunscreen. At home I very through moisturizers, but I decided on this one for traveling because it’s the most versatile. That’s two bottles. Then there were travel-sized bottles of Kiehl’s Ultra cleanser and toner and a small bottle for my Argan Oil, which is all I’m using on my hair these days (plus it also makes for a perfect body moisturiser). Because I’m pretty attached to my shampoo and hair conditioner, I bought a couple of travel sized bottles for them as well and it turns out I use far less product than I initially thought I use per wash. As far as make-up goes, some BB cream and a couple of Chubby Sticks go a long way in a warm climate, and at night I’d just add some mascara and concealer.

This travel experience has once again made me reconsider the amount of stuff that I own versus the amount that I actually use, and although I thought I was doing fairly well for the last couple of years, upon returning home I decided to remove a couple of things that were getting the least amount of wear and (more importantly) actual joy out of wearing them. It felt good to downsize even more and I got to make my mom and some friends happy. :-)

collection

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Current small Diptyque collection of personal favourites.

Chêne still remains the all-round favourite, although I do enjoy the comfort of Feu de Bois during cold season and Maquis in spring. Opopanax and Cyprès are both cosy in the evening, especially when it’s raining outside and I’m cuddled up with a good book, and Ambre is very sensual.

Still on the wishlist: Santal, Myrrhe, Cèdre, Vetyver and Cuir.

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(all images are my own.)

comfort

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Recently acquired chunky grey knit with multicolored speckles, dark grey sweater with metallic speckles and black leather sneakers. 

Currently re-reading Orwell’s 1984. January 2013 somehow seemed like the perfect time to do that.

I also received a sample of L’Ombre dans l’Eau during my recent trip to Skins. I didn’t like it at first, but it kind of grew on me and now I’m even considering purchasing the solid perfume. It’s very mossy and green and even though it contains traces of rose, it’s not the usual bright sunny rose. More like rose for people who don’t usually like roses, if that makes any sense.

products

bb
I’m probably a bit late to the party, but one of my recent discoveries is Clinique BB cream. I don’t like foundations, but this really evens out the skin tone without feeling like I’m wearing a mask. Years ago I used Clinique City Block but it made my skin look a bit pasty in the summer when I got a tan, so I switched to using just a moisturizer with SPF, some concealer and a bit of loose powder to even out and mattify everything.

I use BB over my La Roche-Posay moisturizer and it blends really well with my skin tone. It doesn’t feel like make-up at all and it has SPF! Perfect.

chubby
Another new favourite is Clinique Chubby Stick. I’ve been searching for a good berry tinted lip balm for a while now and a friend recommended this fun looking product that immediated appealed to me. I love a dramatic lipcolour, especially in winter, but usually I have other things on my mind and don’t feel like making a lot of effort. This is quick and virtually fool-proof. The colour (nr. 16) looks pretty dramatic but it goes on sheer with just the right amount of shine.

shimmers
Burt’s Bees lip shimmers are another personal favourite. I buy these in bulk so there are always some in the bag and make-up cabinet.

clarinseye
I rarely use eye pencil, because I realized it tends to look harsh on me, even when blended properly. These Mineral eyeshadows by Clarins are great for days when I want a bit more polish. I use no. 8 (taupe) to add a bit more depth to the crease and outer corner of the eye, as well as underneath the bottom lashes. No. 9 (lavender tea) is interesting because it’s a very subtle violet taupe. I was initially hesitant, but the handful of times that I’ve had my make-up done professionally, I learned that violet tones such as these compliment my eye colour (grey).

cliniqueeye
Another Clinique product! Like Mink (I really enjoy this name) is a bit more dramatic brown and usually reserved for the evening. The lighter pigment on the left also matches really well with the Clarins colours above, when used in the inner corner of the eye to brighten up.

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I don’t like severe product and namedropping on blogs, it usually feels kind of cheesy and Home Shopping Network-ish, but I really like these products and wanted to share them. Also, I love reading IntoTheGloss and I always end up wanting to make my own versions of Top Shelf. =)

(All images are my own.)

wood

01

I admit I’m not a jewellery person. I realised this after years of buying things like bracelets and necklaces and then not wearing them. When dressing myself, it rarely occures to me to add some, because it usually feels unnecessarily ornamental, and takes away from the general simplicity of my wardrobe. And when I do decide on something like a simple gold cuff or chunky chain necklace, which I wanted for a long time, i am constantly aware of wearing it and fidgeting with it.

It’s possibly just one of those things you like on others but not on yourself. It’s partially also due to some bad luck – for example my pierced ear heals the moment I take out my earring for more than a week (no matter how long I’ve been wearing the earrings up to that point), so I just gave up bothering to get it pierced over and over again. I also had a very simple, very thin gold chain, which mysteriously vanished during a walk on the beach one summer holiday.

So for years I just gave up on jewellery and decided it wasn’t my thing. Recently though, I fell in love with a lovely necklace from COS featuring graphic wood elements (I generally love COS designs, due to it’s simplicity and graphic quality). Something about the natural matte texture that breaks up the shine of the metal and the unusual shape, appealed to me. I also really liked the way it looked with my usual wardrobe colours and casual navy jumpers or crew-neck sweaters, so it wasn’t just something that just looked good in picture, but it was even better in person. 

03
So I started thinking about wooden details, and new ways to add them to my wardrobe. There is something humble yet unusual about using organic material such as wood, that I like. My boyfriend works with different kinds of wood to create abstract objects and I asked him to make a hairclip using a type of wood with natural red colouring called panouk that has become gradient from the sun. I really like the simplicity of design he came up with, like an optical illusion on the back of my head. =)

04
Some time ago I also noticed a lovely wooden clutch from the French Connection, and although I liked the shape, I did not like the type of wood used, nor the shiny finish. So my boyfriend made a slightly bigger version in slightly different shape, using superior wood (walnut), and leaving it matte. I love this shade. And best of all, it complements the wooden soles of my black patent-leather brogues. 

winter skin

cotonblanc

I only recently discovered the joy of purchasing skincare products at the local pharmacy. Most dutch pharmacies are not like the French or even Belgian pharmacies, which are usually stocked with pharmaceutical cult-favourites such as Caudalíe and Embryolisse, but after some careful research I found a local pharmacy that stocks a couple of brands I’ve been meaning to try in order to help relieve dry winter skin, like La Roche-Posay (below).

Throughout the years I’ve settled on a couple of products that seem to keep my skin happy, but during the coldest months my skin appears to be extra sensitive, needing extra care. This year I set out to find the perfect product specifically for winter skin and began trying out different samples. For a while I favoured Aesop’s Camelia Nut Hydrating facial cream which did a good job as a night moisturizer, but was too rich to use under blush or concealer because it took some time to absorb properly on my skin.

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I’ve been reading about La Roche-Posay for ages now, how it’s a dermatologist as well as skincare-enthousiasts favourite and thought I’d give it a try. So far it has made my skin very happy. The formula is made with sensitive skin in mind and contains none of the bad stuff such as parabens and alcohol. Instead, it’s light, gentle and super moisturizing. There is also the ‘riche’ version, for extra dry skin, but this one works perfectly for my own daily routine.

(images: VogueUK via cottonblanc tumblr and my own instagram)

heather grey

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It’s january already. I have no idea how that happened so fast, but here we are, and I’m trying to navigate the post-holiday dip and get back to regular scheduled programming. Wardrobe-wise I’m recently gravitating towards classic sportswear in muted greys, like this Norse Projects sweatshirt above. Paired with dark grey jeans, wool coat and classic black converse, it feels like an appropriately ultra-casual post-holiday wardrobe staple for cold winter months ahead.

2012 was a very good year to me and I’m hoping this year will the as good or perhaps even better. Here is to a prosperous and productive 2013 to all. =)

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navy on navy

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(all images by me)

One of the best part about the cold winter season is the cosy aspect of wrapping yourself up in layers of warm fabrics and drinking liters of tea to keep warm. I currently really like the idea of draping oversized shapes in different tones of the same colour – in this case navy wool coat, cashmere crewneck jumper and an oversized scarf I bought last month.

depth

I love this colour. I cannot decide if it’s mulberry or burgundy or something else entirely, but there is something very unusual about it that I like.

A year ago I read in the interview with Pat McGrath in which she explained how she created the look for Rooney Mara’s Lisbeth Salander in David Fincher’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I really liked Mara’s transformation for this role, even if I wasn’t exactly excited for the film itself. McGrath explained how they wanted to create a smoky eye for Lisbeth, but instead of going the obvious route and piling on black eyeliner, she opted for something more translucent and interesting by creating a shade that contained a bit of red pigment and was transparent so that it allowed natural skin tone trough.

A couple of days after reading that interview, I was in Sephora (I just discovered something called BB cream and wanted one but couldn’t decide on a brand and still haven’t to this day) when I stumbled upon this eyeshadow compact containing an unusual mulberry colour. I decided, almost contra-intuitivly, to just add it to my shopping basket. It’s been a while since I really experimented with new make-up, but every now and then something comes along that just feels exciting. At home I tried it on and after mixing and matching with other colours, I fell in love with the way it made my eyes brighter and intenser, without looking like I was suffering from pinkeye. The trick is to keep it light and blend really well.

I wore this one or two times in the evening, but soon went back to my usual neutrals, since they are more fool-proof and easier to apply (and sometimes I’m really lazy when it comes to things like make-up, even though I like the idea of using it).

Then last summer Emily from IntoTheGloss published these images of Meghan Collison wearing her “obsession of the (coming) season: Clé de Peau (which I wish was available here)’s limited-edition Satin Eye Color  - “a wash of a hard-to-place, hazy color (…) It’s not in the crease…it’s not “smoky” in the typical way…it’s like a smoke of sexy vampire colorIt’s so…fresh.“. I immediately wanted this (how can I not?). Then remembered owning something similar.

Since then it has grown into a full-blown love-affair. I really love the way this colour looks with simple and luxurious dark grey wool garments and it somehow feels much more wearable than wearing deep lipcolours. As much as I like perfect deep berries on lips, they do need perfect application-skills and multiple check-ups and fixes, thus being less practical and eventually less effortless. (For these reasons, when it comes to lips, I’m much more of a lip stain person.)

I brought this compact with me on my trip last month, but as you can see in the picture, it arrived back home in tiny pieces. Might be a time for a replacement.