Achieving “Je ne sais quoi” status

After the first leg of my trip in London it was time to Chunnel it over to Paris.  Just a quick two hour trip, and I emerged from Gare du Nord in the center of the City of Lights.  Paris is certainly another city in my all-time-favorites list; I lived there while getting my masters, and it will always have a special place in mon cœur.  So, while I was technically a tourist in my old home, I had a list of to-do’s which included things more along the lines of grocery shopping, hole in the wall restaurants, and stops in to my favorite neighborhood patisserie (the last time I was there I came back with 5 bars of chocolate, 4 pieces of quiche, and truffle tagliatelle from one of my favorite restaurants).  So for this trip, I also wanted to make sure I caught up on all the latest in Made-in-France products.  While I have my own faves (I’m obsessed with Garnier’s Ultra DOUX line – especially the au henné et vinaigre de mûre products designed for brunettes), I wanted to do a little bit of research to find the latest and greatest in French cult beauty products.  Enter: beautyeditor, a Canadian beauty blog founded by Michelle Villett, a former ELLE Canada health and beauty editor.

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I stumbled across the blog after googling “french beauty products not in us”, and after landing on my initial results (Paris beauty products! 15 cult faves from the French pharmacy), I was soon sucked into the rest of their site.  Neatly divided by Hair, Makeup, Skin, Nails, and Shop this site is really my own little piece of blog heavy.  As a self professed product junkie (my grandmother lovingly told me at the age of 10 that I needed another lipgloss like I needed a hole in the head), the site (unfortunately for my wallet) opened my eyes to a whole new set of goods I hadn’t even realized were out there (I DO need to try that Aztec secret healing clay.  Right?)

Chock full of great tips and tricks (posts like “How to make your lipstick last a ridiculously long time“, and  “If you need glasses, you probably need these makeup tips“), the posts are written in a totally relatable tone that makes you feel like you’re just chatting with a girl friend.  Couple that with the fact that, while they give you a behind the scenes look at celeb and runway style, they realize it may not be realistic for everyday life (apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought Emily Blunt’s Met Gala makeup looked cool yet crazy all at the same time).

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I totally appreciate that while they’re upfront when they’re reviewing a sponsored item, most of the products they post are actually sent to them free of charge (wait–how do I become a contributor?), but they really do always stick to the latest and greatest.  After loosing myself in the site for a few (ahem) hours, I realized this might just make my daily reads! Sorry Grandma–looks like I’m going to be buying a lot more lipgloss!

 

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The Breakfast Club

On the first day of my trip, I arrived in one of my most favorite cities in the world, London, running on about two hours of sleep after an overnight flight.  As is always the case when you really want to check in to your hotel, our room wasn’t ready, but we were told that if we hurried, we could probably make the tail end of breakfast in the dining room.  Luckily, we made it with almost seconds to spare, and instantly after placing my order, there was hot a piping hot cup of much needed coffee in front of me.  This was when the fun began.  First: when you ask for cream with your coffee in London, they really mean CREAM.  It’s full on (read: FULL FAT) that is so dense it almost reminds me of the consistency of melted ice cream.  In other words, it was perfection.  I had ordered a full English breakfast, because…you know: “When in Rome” and all that.  To make a long story short, while the breakfast was fabulous, I’m really glad I only looked up the details of black pudding long after I ate it (Click the link if you really want to know, but I’ll spare you the details.  You’re welcome.)

Royal guards on The Mall

Royal guards on The Mall

So after this auspicious kickoff, when I came across the blog The London Review of Breakfasts, I knew I had my perfect post-trip blog.  The blog has been around for a while, but don’t let the simple layout and lack of ads fool you: this is quality content.  It’s full of great recommendations, and wittily written (sometimes scathing) reviews, from a team that has essentially declared a war on bad breakfast in London, claiming that they’ve “had enoeuf” (if you don’t get that joke, please stop reading this blog immediately).

lrb

You can browse by areacontributor and restaurant name.  The site also features a “Special Dispatches” section with a selection of breakfasts from around the UK (Bedford to York), and even around the World (Australia to the US).  Another section titled “Opinions & Eggitorials” features an Open Letter to the most recent  US presidential candidates inviting them to a breakfast in Ohio, and requesting that they “please contact us soon to ensure that your schedule can be arranged to accommodate ours.”  It is this sarcastic, blatantly British humor that makes TLROB such a winning site.  Don’t get me wrong–I LOVE breakfast.  I’ve been known to throw quite the brunch (I assure you–it’s mind-blowing).  But at the end of the day, despite the bravado, The London Review of Breakfasts knows it’s a breakfast site. But why shouldn’t it be taken very seriously.  After all: breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Bon Voyage

In deciding what blog to blog about this week, I thought it would be completely apropos to find a travel blog, as I’m getting ready to set off on a trip myself.  If nothing else I figured it would serve as a great inspiration for my plans.  I was looking for lush vistas, inspiring views, and dreamy beaches, but instead what I got was a lot of bare bones, blah sites.  That is until I came across Canvas of Light.  To be fair, this is actually a travel blog that sits along side the bloggers personal photography website, but it’s nonetheless extremely engaging.

photosite

As I mentioned, I had very specific ideas as to what I was looking for in a travel blog, so when I read about him on The Huffington Post, saying he was the “Best travel photographer on the internet. There is no reason to beat around the bush”, I had a feeling I was on the right track.  Add that to the fact that he adores Paris, and I was in blogger-love.

photosite 2

I consider myself fairly well-traveled, but I still have a zillion places on my wish list, and know that realistically I will probably never make it to a lot of them.  That’s where a site like Canvas of Light comes in.  The photos are so beautifully shot, you feel like you took the trip, and were lucky enough to go to insert location here on the best day of the whole year.  He captures the best colors of my favorite season (Fall) in the US, in such perfection that the east coast tourism boards should be begging him for shots for their Fall Foliage campaigns (they really should – he even includes a handy link to buy his images for commercial use).  Plus, if you see something that really calls to you, you can buy a print, or even send it as a card OR ecard (how’s that for a multi-service site?)

Fall

He lives in Thailand, so he has the benefit of drawing from an exotic locale everyday, but that said there is still quite a bit of variety.  From Grenada,  to the French Countryside, and even to some great photo tutorials, there is something to view for every kind of traveler.  It’s definitely been a site that’s made me add a few new spots to my bucket list.