Monday, December 30, 2013

Les Miserables in London

Sorry for the late post but I had something on my mind I wanted to share.

While studying abroad I saw Les Miserables in London with my mom. It was the first time I had seen it and the only word I have for it is "flawless". I watched the movie after and wasn't quite as pleased, but I bought the soundtrack to the original London production and listened to it throughout the rest of my stay in Paris.

After learning so much about France's history, seeing this musical made me feel even more connected to the country. It's not only a phenomenal story but it's amazing to think about Victor Hugo living through this event and then writing such a powerful novel. Hugo is considered to be a national hero in France. He had one of the first national funerals in France and is buried in the Pantheon alongside other "grands hommes", including Marie Curie and Emile Zola.

Listening to the soundtrack while I'm here at home makes me feel so connected to Paris. It's been a weird adjustment back to the States but I'll get there. This soundtrack is very helpful. I'm excited to read the book as well and I think that will help a lot too.

I hope everyone had a great Monday.

Bisous mes cheris***

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Everyday Makeup Picks

Today's post is going to be about the makeup I use everyday. I have a lot of favorites but these are the things I NEED when I'm getting ready for the day. Now I'm going to start by saying some of this has been changed since this photo was taken, as it was taken while I was in France and I am now home and have acquired some new products.

The first thing I do in the morning is I wash my face. It's very important to clean your face before you start applying makeup, but I also just love the way it feels when I'm trying to wake myself up. I use Lush's Dark Angels cleanser, followed with the Tea Tree Water toner, the Celestial moisturizer and ending with sunscreen. If you are interested in using Lush products but you aren't sure which ones would work best with your skin type, I highly recommend going to a store and talking to one of their employees. They are very knowledgeable and most of the time extremely nice!

I finish prepping my face by applying Bare Escentuals Prime Time Foundation Primer before I apply Bare Escentuals Foundation. After I apply foundation, I like to sweep some sort of highlighter over my cheeks and down my nose. I really like Soap & Glory's Glow All Out and Boujois's Java Rice Powder. (Side note: Did you know that Boujois product are exactly the same as Chanel's? Boujois makes all of Chanel's makeup and it's the same stuff as the drugstore brand).

Next I apply my L'Oreal eyeliner before using my potted eyeliner. I prefer the brown to the black because brown is definitely dark enough and black can be a bit too intense. After the eyeliner dries I curl my eyelashes and finish off with my Urban Decay mascara. I started curling my eyelashes at the beginning of college and now I do it religiously. It makes a huge difference!

I have a variety of lip colors and most of them are Urban Decay. I really trust Urban Decay as a brand, and I own a lot of their products. I always use a lip exfoliant and lip primer before my final lip color. When I'm feeling really ballsy, I use MAC's Russian Red with their Kiss Me Quick liner.

And finally, after I've put on everything, I finish with my perfume. I found this perfume by chance but it is my scent now. I think it's important for everyone to have a scent that they can be identified by. It also boosts my confidence when I know I smell nice.

Hope everyone has fun plans for this weekend!

Bisous mes cheris***

Photo credits to Lisa Cherkassky

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wishlist: Christmas!

It's about that time of year again! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! I spend mine with my family on Christmas Eve and Christmas day which is always really amazing. Most of us are older and we don't all live close, so it's nice to see everyone and catch up.

It's hard to have a wish list when I just got back from being in France for four months but there's my wishlist!

My favorite band is Mumford & Sons and since recently my parents brought up their old record player, I thought it would be fun to have these albums on vinyl.

I have fallen in love with these measuring cups and decorative plates on Anthropologie's website. They're a little pricey but that's to be expected from Anthropologie.

And finally I have always wanted all the Studio Ghibli movies because they're amazing, and since I'll be moving into a new apartment soon, a Totoro bowl seems appropriate.

Hope everyone got what they wanted for the holidays!

Bisous mes cheris***

Monday, December 23, 2013

Book Review: The Paris Wife

I finished The Paris Wife 3 months ago while on a train going from Marseille back to Paris. The train ride was three hours long so I decided to write my review while the thoughts were fresh.

Now let me start by saying I really didn’t know anything about this book before I picked it up. I knew I loved the 1920s, I was going to be in Paris soon, and I liked what I read in the back of the book. I appreciate this book, first of all because of the effort McLain made to keep it historically accurate. At the end of the novel, she sites all her sources, explaining how she was able to become a part Hadley Richardson by reading the letters she wrote to Hemingway and other books about her life.

This book is very emotionally draining. The love between Hadley and Ernest is obvious, but it’s thick and kind of oppressive like humid weather. The narrative is beautiful but also incredibly sad. We all know Ernest wasn’t the happiest of people and takes an equally sad person to be with him. I loved McLain’s use of first person, making all of Hadley’s emotions that much more heart-wrenching.
I will say this book made me a little sad about my favorite era. If any of what I read rings true, the 1920s were a wonderful beautiful time, but disgusting and in a way sickeningly sweet. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby is verified by this novel. No one wanted to show how unhappy they were, for it wasn’t proper to ruin the beautiful lies maintained at a surface level. Everything seemed to be in excess; the glamour, the booze, and the love. I will still say this is my favorite era, for more than one reason, but with good comes the bad.

I tentatively recommend this book. It’s not really for the faith hearted or those with empathetic tendencies. It’s gorgeous and stunning beautiful, but it will break your heart.

Overall score: A- for an amazing book that broke my heart

Sunday, December 22, 2013

My Playlist: OneRepublic Native

One of my favorite albums that came out earlier this year was Native by OneRepublic.

I have been a long time fan of the Colorado based band and I was so excited when I found out they were finally coming out with another album! Let me tell you, it was worth the wait. I ended up liking the album so much, I bought the vinyl as well. The music is really uplifting and makes you feel amazing. It's a bit hard to explain so I'll let their music do the explaining.

Not only is Native an amazing album, but so are their first two. Here are my favorites from Dreaming Out Loud and Waking up.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday!

Bisous cheris***

Back Home!

I'm back home in San Francisco! It's such a surreal feeling being back since I was in Paris just two days ago but I'm really enjoying being back. I wanted to post some pictures of the CEA event me and my friends went to before we left, as well as tell you guys I'm going to try to post as much as I can now that I'm home! I'll be a bit busy with the holidays and moving back to school but I will do my best to stay on top of things.

Now for the event!

My roommate and I decided to go as flappers, who are my favorite historical figures.

It was really sad saying goodbye to all the friends I've made while in Paris, but I will never forget them and what we experienced together. And being sad never prevented us from being a little goofy!

I'm happy to be home but I will miss Paris dearly. I hope to go back ASAP!

Bisous mes cheris***

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Day in the Life: Paris Museums

Happy Tuesday everyone! For me, and for others I hope, an important part of being in Paris is immersing yourself in the culture. An easy and effective way of doing this is going to museums. French people appreciate a type of knowledge they call "cultivé" which is essentially a knowledge of art, history, and current events. Businesses will often take their employees to museums as a way of helping them acquire this specific type of knowledge. CEA provided every student with an ID card that claims we are Art History students so that we can get into museums for free which is really amazing. I have been to the Louvre and the d'Orsay about four times as well as the Roudin Museum, the Museum of Jewish History and Art, the George Pompidou Museum of Modern Art, Art Ludique, and many others for my History of Haute Couture class.

Me with blonde hair at the beginning of the trip!

While I love the Lourve and I find many of the pieces of art there captivating (mostly the statues) my favorite museum is the d'Orsay. There is something about impressionism that really makes me happy, and the museum used to be a train station so the structure is a piece of art in itself.

Another museum I really enjoyed was the Art Ludique museum. It is privately owned so we had to pay to get in, but they had a Pixar exhibit going on and I had to go. It was really nostalgic and fun. Being in Paris makes me love Ratatouille even more and makes me miss my pet rat at home (who I named Remy!) Sadly we couldn't take pictures but here are the postcards I bought!

It's been fun being in Paris and gaining more of this cultivé knowledge! I'm excited to go home and try to put it to good use. 

Bisous mes cheris***

Photo credits to Monica Park and yours truly! (when I still had my phone)  

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Euro Disney!

A few weeks ago I got to cross something of my bucket list: go to Euro Disney! I was also lucky enough to be able to go with some of my very good friends which includes my photographer.
Hooray for photobombs!

As an avid Disneyland goer, I was really excited to compare the different parks. Euro Disney is comprised of two parks: Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios. Both of the parks are significantly smaller than Disneyland or California Adventures, and certain aspects aren't quite as modern, but it has an amazing charm. A lot of the rides in both parks are ones I've seen in Disneyland or exist in DisneyWorld, and there are a few that are unique to Euro Disney. My favorite rides in Disneyland are usually Alice in Wonderland, Haunted Mansion (preferably during the holidays) and Space Mountain, and the rides I liked the most at Disneyland Paris aren't too different! Thunder Mountain railroad and Space Mountain are very different than Disneyland but I enjoyed them the most. I also really liked the Tavern of the Dragon but that was an attraction not a ride.

Haunted Mansion

Tavern of the Dragon

It felt really amazing being at the park. I go to Disneyland at home so often that if feels very familiar and comfortable to me; being at Euro Disney made me feel like I was home. Being there with my best friends from my program here made me feel so happy and content.

It also didn't hurt that all the Christmas decorations are up right now and that just makes the park feel so festive and inviting. The park doesn't have a fireworks show at the end of the night but they do have a light show where they project images onto Sleeping Beauty's castle.

All in all, it was a magical day that I wished didn't have to end. Being in the park reminded me how lucky I am to be in Paris and to have really amazing friends who care so much about me. I hope everyone is getting super excited about the holidays!

Bisous mes cheris***

Photo credits to Lisa Cherkassky  and Monica Park

Friday, December 13, 2013

My Playlist: Our Last Night

Our Last Night is a post-hardcore band from Hollis, New Hampshire that has been one of my favorite bands for about four years now. My best friend showed them to me, along with come other bands within the same genre, and this group quickly became a favorite. Their lead singer was only 13 years old when they signed to Epitaph Records and started their first tour. Since 2006 they have come out with three albums, two EP, and a self produced record.

These boys are nothing if not the perfect example of what determination and a LOT of hard work can do for you. I saw them a last October in a small venue in Anaheim California where they were opening for another band and now about a year later, they have managed to raise over $40,000 to produce and record their own album. It's really incredible to think that four people about my age are traveling the world and performing in front of thousands of people. Seven years ago they probably couldn't imagine where they'd be today. I try to think about this when I'm close to giving up on something I feel passionately about and I hope you all do too.

Here are some of my favorite songs:

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Bisous mes cheris***

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Current Obsession: Soap & Glory

I'm not sure how many of you have ever heard of the brand Soap & Glory, but if you haven't, I'll get you started.

Soap & Glory is a bath, body, and cosmetic company based in London and was founded in 2006 by Marcia Kilgore. Kilgore opened a spa in New York at the age of 26 and as a world renowed skincare expert, was wildly successful. Her philosophy is "beauty absolutely matters, [but] it doesn’t matter absolutely". The company believes in beauty being fun as well as environmentally conscious. Last year the company launched the 2 Minute Rinse Campaign as a way to approach the global water shortage. All in all, this company really cranks out some wonderful products that work well, while maintaining and positive message.

Now to my obsession. I like to try out new body products every once and a while to see if I can find something I like more than what I already have. I tend to stick to the same companies, but sometimes another brand will catch my attention and I just have to try it; Soap & Glory was one of those brands. Since the company is based out of London, they aren't the easiest to get in the United States. I can purchase them online but with the exchange rate of the pound being as crappy as it is and the cost of shipping, it wasn't looking too good. I recently went to London with my mom and spent most of that Sunday looking for Sobranie cigarettes (which I ended up finding later in Edinburgh). I was very discouraged and upset when I was unable to find them but my mood lifted drastically when I walked into a Boots and saw Soap & Glory products. It took me a minute to calm down and to stop being embarrassed since I had exclaimed quite loudly upon seeing the products, but once I composed myself, I proceeded to buy a gigantic bottle of their award winning lotion.

I use that sucker every day! It smells amazing and was pretty inexpensive for the big bottle. Above is a picture of those bottles as well as other products I bought when I went to Ireland. "Glow All Out" is a pressed sparkly powder (I say sparkly because I find words like "illuminating" or "luminescent" or whatever to be misleading). It goes on very lightly but that's what I like. I don't tend to put on a lot of face makeup since my skin can be very sensitive. My photographer got the "One Heck of a Blot". Though she has yet to try the powder, I have read nothing but good reviews online.

I also got two very neutral lip colors. They're both matte (my favorite!!!) and stay on very well. Sadly since the weather in Paris has been so cold, my lips have been very chapped and sad so the lipstick hasn't been looking super nice (matte finishes aren't as forgiving as glossy). However I am very pleased with the color and how long I can wear it before having to reapply.

And of course I can't live without a travel sized bottle of lotion so I have a cute tiny one for my purse.

Perfect size huh? Anyway, I hope this post inspires you to check their stuff out. If nothing else, the names of their products will give you a chuckle.

Bisous mes cheris***


Photo credits to Lisa Cherkassky

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cabaret in Dublin

When my friends and I were in Dublin, we got to see a production of Cabaret at the Gaiety Theatre. I didn't know anything about the musical before seeing it, which is usually how I like to go into musicals, other than it was famous and worth seeing. If you're like me and don't tend to like knowing the plots of things before seeing or reading them, you should stop here. If you like knowing what you're getting yourself into, go ahead and keep reading.

Cabaret is about an American writer who arrives in Berlin during the 1930s when the Nazi party was growing strong. He meets a dancer from a Cabaret and they start living together.

I only knew one song from this musical and that was thanks to Glee, sad yes I know, but I loved the song so I had high hopes for the rest of the music. The main character in the production is the Emcee and this actor sings most of the songs; they are hilarious. The musical is not exactly bright and cheery so it's nice to get a good laugh when he comes on stage. If you can I would recommend listening to the sound track before you see the show. A lot of the songs the Emcee sings are about the Nazi party and what's happening in the country at the time, so it will make more sense if you can understand everything he's saying.

The story line was extremely well balanced. Like I said before, the plot is not cheerful so without the upbeat music, this would be a very depressing musical. I won't want to give away too much of the storyline, but it is really a very intense show. I highly recommend trying to see it if you get the chance.

Fun fact: The Gaiety Theatre was constructed on my birthday in 1871! Random but it made me smile.

Bisous mes cheris***

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Fossil Finds

One of my long-term life obsessions is the brand Fossil. They pride themselves in their ability to draw inspiration from vintage American styles to make some really modern and timeless pieces. Just like the brand Oysho, I feel like as if this mark was made for me. I have to be extremely careful every time I walk into that store! There is a beautiful Fossil store in the Carrousel de Louvre that I have been frequenting since my arrival. I clearly haven't been careful enough since I have purchased two watches, a wristlet, and a limited edition hand bag in the past three months.
This is my current collection of Fossil watches. I brought the white watch with me to Paris and I have purchased the other two since then. 
This watch is special to me because it was the first "designer" watch I purchased with my own money. It's a perfect watch that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. After I bought it, it became my "every day" watch and still is! I'm not the most graceful person and I tend to hit my wrists against things a lot. This watch has survived many a good "whack" against a wall, and has yet to scratch or crack.

My favorite part of this watch is the moon phase feature. It's technically advertised as a man's watch but I fell in love and decided I couldn't live without it. The crystal on the face and the setting are both really thick which makes it feel almost like a pocket watch. I love how even thought this watch isn't the most flashy or complicated, it has a real rustic simple beauty.

This one is pretty much the exact opposite of the moon phase watch. I love rose gold and navy blue  them together in this very chic and elegant style meant I had to have it. It's band and face are extremely heavy which makes me feel very strong and powerful (is that weird?) I has a lot more complications than the other watches which makes it even more fun to look at.

Another fun part about buying watches at Fossil is that you get to choose the case! They have a lot of really fun, vintage designs and the boxes are mad of tin so they'll really protect your valuable purchase.

The wristlet was more of an impulse buy. I somehow convinced myself I needed a VERY small bag to walk around Paris with. It's funny how "I'm in Paris" has become an excuse for spending more and more money.

I sadly sent my limited edition handbag home when my mom was here to visit so I don't have any photos of it. It is so gorgeous though, and I promise to post some when I get home and am reunited with it!

Bisous mes cheris***

Photo credits to Lisa Cherkassky

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Day in the Life: Paris

I've been in Paris now for a little over three months now, so I thought I'd share my routine with everyone.

I take classes every day at the Sorbonne University and at the CEA Campus; CEA is the program I'm studying abroad with. I've been having a great experience with them so far and if you're interesting in studying abroad, I'd recommend checking out their site: Sadly school does take up a lot of my time since I have CEA classes in the morning and Sorbonne in the afternoon and after two hours of grammar and one hour of phonetics, I'm exhausted. I have been trying my best though to make the most of my daily life in Paris.

My roommate's friend was staying with us for nine days and just left a few days ago. While she was here we acted a little more touristy than usual but it's been really fun and it's honestly a good way to make sure I've seen most of the city as well! My roommate is a big foodie (check out her blog if you get the chance!, so we often try out new restaurants near us. The CEA campus is in the Marais (we got extremely lucky with this) and our Sorbonne campus is in Montparnasse (which is also pretty lucky).

When we have time before classes in the morning, we sometimes go to this breakfast place on Rue de Temple (or do laundry depending on the day). It's small but has a great atmosphere, and there's always international tourist there which makes for some fun conversation.

We don't often go out to dinner since we eat earlier than more French people and restaurant aren't always open, but we do like to treat ourselves every once and a while! We recently tried a beer place in Montparnasse that was wonderful. We went during happy hour so the beers were cheaper (woohoo!) and the food was super yummy (though it's hard to go wrong with toasted goat cheese).

It was really nice to unwind after a long day with friends, and really soak in the night life. It's still crazy for me to think I'm in Paris and I'm having this incredible experience and that real life is waiting for me back in California.

I'm leaving in just a few weeks so I'm going to try to make every second count! I hope you all have a wonderful and safe weekend.

Bisous mes cheris***

Photo credits to Monica Park