Sunday Random Ramblings, Vol.179

Hello gorgeous,

are you having a nice Sunday? I hope so. Sit back, relax, and enjoy my weekly ramblings. And feel free to share yours in the comments. I’d love to hear what you have been up to too!

My Favourite Italian Designers

favourite italian designers

Italy is famous for its fashion as much as it is for its food. Italians love to look their best and dress up to the nines. Even when we go casual, we usually give much attention to every detail of our outfit to make sure everything harmonises well. And our designers are known the world over for their timeless, traditional, yet modern aesthetics that make any woman feel special. Here are my favourites:

Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana love controversy. I don’t, but you don’t have to like a designer or agree with what he says to appreciate his creations. And there’s no denying that Dolce & Gabbana’s creations are stunning. Their aesthetic is feminine and sensual, bold and extravagant, elaborate and voluptuous, and greatly influenced by Sicily and the Mediterranean. It’s stepped in tradition, but still very modern.

Luisa Beccaria

If you’re the romantic type, you just can’t help but fall in love with Luisa Beccaria’s creations. Dreamy, poetic, flowy, and feminine are just some of the adjectives that spring to mind to describe her aesthetic. Her gowns are traditional, but with a modern vibe, and look like they have just come out from a faitrytale.

Alberta Ferretti

Charming, romantic, and contemporary. That’s Alberta Ferretti’s aesthetic. Famous for her twisting, tucking, and draping techniques, she often uses layers to create a flowy, feminine look. She always knows how to make a woman look and feel gorgeous.

Valentino

Timeless. Valentino’s creations can be worn in any era without ever looking out of place. Famous for his signature red hue and romantic style, Valentino always make women feel and look like princesses. In recent years, and under the new creative directors, the brand has started breaking with tradition, opting for a more minimalistic and modern aesthetic that’s still, however, very regal. I’m still a big fan.

What are your favourite Italian designers?

Beauty Wishlist, Vol.06

beauty wishlist 05

ELIZABETH ARDEN SUNKISSED PEARLS BRONZER AND HIGHLIGHTER ($39.50)
How gorgeous is this bronzer? The pattern reminds me of a day at the beach, and that’s what the sunkissed glow it provides is said to mimic too. I just wish the packaging were prettier. I noticed several high-end brands are starting to use white packaging, and I don’t like the trend. It looks so cheap! Available at Debenhams.

URBAN DECAY AFTERGLOW 8-HOUR POWDER BLUSH ($26.00)
Urban Decay’s new blush promises to give your skin an easy, sexy, lit-from-within glow that makes people wonder if you spent the whole weekend in a secret love den. Its creamy texture is said to blend effortlessly, making for a foolproof application. It is available in 12 shades, ranging from pinks to nudes, from purples to reds! Available at Sephora.

URBAN DECAY EYESHADOW ($18.00)
Urban Decay has released 8 new eyeshadow colours. My favourite are four duochrome shades: Tonic (lilac with blue shift), Lounge (brick red with green shift), Dive Bar (medium blue with pink-purple shift), and Sideline (gold with green shift). Available at Sephora.

BITE BEAUTY WATERCOLOR LIP GLOSS LIBRARY ($49.00)
Inspired by the ethereal and delicate beauty of watercolours, this set contains 12 soft shades for a translucent wash of colour and alluring shine. Next to red, pink, and coral shades, you’ll find unusual hues such as yellow and mint, but don’t worry. They’re very sheer and wearable. Available at Sephora.

What I’m Reading Now

non obvious
Non-Obvious: How to Think Different, Curate Ideas & Predict The Future by Rohit Bhargava
Everyone can follow trends, but how many of us can spot them while they are just emerging? Bhargava can and, in Non-Obvious, he explains how you too can “see the things that others miss”. First, he teaches us his simple methods and the tools he uses to spot trends. Then, he shares the 15 top trends of 2015, highlighting how some brands have already taken advantage of them, and pointing out ways you can do the same. That way, you’ll be able to take better decision to propel your business, or even your blog, forward. Written in an engaging and easy-to-understand style, the book flows easily. If you want to know how to be among the first players in your industry to adopt a successful trend, or lead the way, give it a read. It’s available at Amazon.

The Links

The Best Of Charlotte Tilbury - Lily Pebbles

Why I’m Quitting Gel Nails: A Temporary Beautiful Result For Long-Term Pain – London Beauty Queen

How to choose a skincare mask – Lab Muffin

What Does Capitalism Have to Do With Body Image Anyway? - Adios Barbie

The Straight Line Technique For Hooded Eyes - Wayne Goss

Disclosure: I received the book from Netgalley. In addition, the post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

Sunday Random Ramblings, Vol.178

Hello gorgeous!

Are you ready for this week’s random ramblings? Get comfy, and enjoy:

The Bedtime Tag

the bedtime tag

My friend Tine of Beautyholics Anonymous tagged me to answer a few questions about my bedtime routine. So, here goes:

1. What are you favourite pajamas?
You can see one of its sleeves in the picture above. The top is all purplish pink, while the pants are striped in pink, white, red, and purple. It’s pretty and feminine, and very very comfy and warm. It’s by far my most worn pajamas, but it still looks brand new.

2. Current bedtime reading?
I love reading, but I rarely do it before bedtime. I prefer to carve moments for reading during the day. I tend to read mostly non-fiction books, and I just don’t have the concentration for them at the end of the day. But I have just finished reading Medieval Tastes: Food, Cooking, and the Table by Massimo Montanari. It’s an interesting topic, but the writing style is very academic and boring.

3. What is on your bedside table?
I don’t have one. My desk is next to my bed. Apart from my computer, pens, notepad, and other stuff I need for blogging, there are a hand cream and a lip balm that I always apply before going to bed. And my phone, which I use as an alarm clock.

4. Favourite sleepy scent?
I don’t use one, but if I did, it’d be lavender. I’ve heard it helps you fall asleep.

5. What is your usual bedtime & wakeup time?
I usually wake up at 6:30am, although if it is a cold day I may stay in bed longer. I am a morning person, and I feel like I’m missing out on some of the best hours of the day if I sleep in longer. Besides, I often write best in the morning. That’s when inspiration usually comes to me. But that means that by 10:30 pm I’m tired and ready to go to bed.

6. Top 3 bedtime products?
Hand cream and lip balm. That way, I always wake up with soft hands and lips. Third one, mmmhh? I’d say my retinol serum, although I don’t always apply it before bedtime. Often, I do my night-time routine just after dinner.

7. Your most common sleeping position?
I’m a side sleeper. I can’t sleep in any other position. It is just too uncomfortable.

8. Any strange bed time routines?
I sleep with an extra blanket in the winter months. I’m not sure that’s weird but I can’t think of anything else.

9. Are you big spoon or little spoon?
Little spoon. It feels so cosy.

I tag everyone who wants to do this! Here are the questions again:
1. What are you favourite pajamas?
2. Current bedtime reading?
3. What is on your bedside table?
4. Favourite sleepy scent?
5. What is your usual bedtime & wakeup time?
6. Top 3 bedtime products?
7. Your most common sleeping position?
8. Any strange bed time routines?
9. Are you big spoon or little spoon?

Beauty Wishlist, Vol.05

beauty wishlist 05

CLARINS AQUATIC TREASURES SUMMER BRONZING COMPACT
I rarely use bronzers, but Clarins always tempts me with theirs. They have the most beautiful patterns and give skin a lovely sunkissed glow. This one is not exception, and arrives this month at Norstrom.

CLARINS IRIDESCENTE IN AQUATIC GREEN
I’m always wary of cream eyeshadows. My lids are oily, and often make them crease. But I’d love to give this one a go. I’m a sucker for green eyeshadows, especially in late spring and summer. If green is not your thing, the eyeshadow is also available in Aquatic Rose (light rose with gold shimmer), and Aquatic Grey (lavender grey). They arrive at Nordstrom this month too.

MAC X PHILIP TREACY HIGHLIGHT POWDER ($32.00)
My love affair with MAC is long over (I still like the brand, just not as much as I used to), but my crush on Philip Tracey is still going strong. I adore his quirky hats and was delighted when his collaboration with MAC was announced. My fave piece is the Highlight Powder in Blush Pink, a lovely light pink with silver accents. Available at MAC Cosmetics.

CLINIQUE CHEEK POP ($21.00)
How adorable is this blush? Creamy, vibrant and natural-looking, it gives your face a healthy look. It is available in six new shades for spring. My favourite? Heather Pop (pictured above). You can get them all at Sephora.

TOO FACED LIP INSURANCE GLOSSY ($20.00)
Weightless and quick-drying, it locks down lip colour, allowing it to last longer, and adds shine too. I’ve yet to find a lip primer that works well, but this one sounds promising. It’s available at Too Faced.

BOBBI BROWN INTENSIVE SKIN SERUM FOUNDATION SPF 40 ($62.00)
Best suited for dry skin, this formula moisturizes skin while evening out the skintone. The creamy texture is lightweight but not runny and spreads easily on the skin. It’s available in 16 shades, so everyone will be able to find a good match. You get it at Bobbi Brown.

What have you been lemming this week?

What I’m Reading Now

brokenomics
Brokenomics: 50 Ways to Live the Dream on a Dime by Dina Gachman
In Brokenomics, author Dina Gachman promises to reveal “all the tricks you need to live the good life without spending a ton of money”. Only she didn’t. Although some of her tips are indeed helpful, the majority are useless, and sometimes, even offensive and wrong. To avoid feeling jealous of those richer than you, she recommends you think of them as crazy idiots. Need toilet paper? If your boss is a jerk, steal it from your workplace. Thinking of having a baby but are worrying it is too expensive? Get a pot plant instead.
While these tips can be considered humorous, others, like her recommendations to never hire a life coach but figure out everything yourself, or invest in shoes rather than the stock market, are downright irresponsible. Not everyone needs a life coach, and of course you should buy shoes if you want to, but following her advice will keep you in the exact same economic situation you are in now. And then, if you are laid off, you’ll just have to take almost any job that’s offered to you, even if you hate it. And if you need more money, a second and a third. Just like the author did (and recommends). But if she had taught you what’s worth investing in, why and how, then you would have had some money in the bank to help you through the tough times and occasionally splurge so you could really live the glamorous life on the cheap.
If you’re looking for a thrifty living guide, this isn’t it. But if you want a light, humorous insight into what’s like for young and broke people to live in a big, expensive city, then you may enjoy it, and even relate to Dina. If the book had been marketed that way, I wouldn’t have given it such a bad review. Just, please, don’t take her advice seriously. Available at Amazon.

The Links

Counterfeit Beauty Is A Big Problem: How To Spot A Fake & What To Do About It – London Beauty Queen

The 12 Best Sunscreens for Every Purpose – Future Derm

Oils for Oil Cleansing: Review – Lab Muffin

NARS x Christopher Kane Overview & Thoughts - Temptalia

Winged Eyeliner for Hooded Eyes – Pixiewoo

Disclosure: I received the book from Netgalley. In addition, the post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

Sunday Random Ramblings, Vol.177

Hello gorgeous,

yep, it’s time for some random ramblings again. Here we go:

My Historical Crushes

historical crushes

Is it weird to have a crush on a man who has been dead for centuries? Not if you’re a history nerd like me. History is full of fascinating figures that make your heart flutter. Here are the three that make mine beat that little bit faster:

King Charles II of Great Britain

Charles II is called the merry monarch. He’s famous for his many mistresses and his lavish court, with its luxurious parties and all kinds of extravagances. Yet, Charles was also very melancholy, which is not surprising considering everything he went through before becoming King. His father fought against Parliament, losing both the civil war and his head. Charles spent years in exile as Cromwell instituted a republic that disintegrated shortly after his death.

Charles was welcomed back with open arms by the people, but the crown brought him many headaches. Parliament kept thwarting most of his plans, and his courtiers either asked for favours or plotted against him. But he was loyal to those he loved (he always refused to divorce his sterile wife) and even forgave most of those who rebelled against his father. He’s a complex and very fascinating historical figure and I can’t help but want to cuddle him a moment and dance at a ball with him the next.

Prince Albert

Prince Albert was the best King the UK has never had. A progressive thinker, he supported social and industrial reforms, trying to improve the lives of his wife’s subjects in any way he could. He was also a family man and deeply devoted to his wife, Queen Victoria, with whom he was very much in love. Their letters to each others are beautiful and touching. Although he hated parties and balls, he loved to play with his nine children. He was also interested in the sciences and art, and organized the first Great Exhibition of 1851. He was a perfect Victorian gentleman who, sadly for everyone, died too soon.

King Leopold III Of Belgium

Little known outside of Belgium, Leopold III is my fave king ever. Dashing, brave, and kind, he had a tragic life. Only a teenager, he knew the horrors of war as he fought as a private soldier in the First World War. He fell in love with Princess Astrid of Sweden, married her and had three children with her, but lost her in a car crush (he was driving). Around the same time, he lost his father in a mountaineering accident too.

Then World War II broke out. His unilateral decision to surrender to Hitler and avoid more unnecessary innocent deaths when it became clear that the Belgian army wasn’t able to fight anymore eventually lead to his abdication. To cut a long story short, Leopold always strived to do his best for his country, but only became a scapegoat for the failures of the Allies at the beginning of the war. They even accused him of being selfish for falling in love and remarrying during the war! It’s sad that, decades later, this wonderful man is still so misunderstood by the few who remember him and forgotten by most.

Beauty Wishlist, Vol.04

wishlist 04

TOO FACED MELTED METAL LIQUIFIED METALLIC LIPSTICK ($21)
I love the Melted range. The shades are so intensely pigmented but don’t dry out lips. Now, it is available in four metallic shades perfect for summer. Available at Too Faced.

TOO FACED SUGAR POP SUGARY SWEET EYE SHADOW COLLECTION ($36.00)
This delicious, colourful palette features nine shimmer and glitter shadows in vanilla, chocolate and candy inspired hues that allow you to create sweet looks for eyes that sparkle and pop! Available at Too Faced.

SEPHORA PRO TWEEZERS (€16,90)
The retractable tweezers, which feature inbuilt LED lights, help remove even the tiniest hairs. Available at Sephora.

SEPHORA NO-SMUDGE SHIELD FOR POLISH (€4,90)
This weird thing is the secret for the perfect quick and precise manicure. Really. The curvy design, suitable for nails of all shapes, allows you to apply nail polish without staining your skin. Cool, isn’t it?

SEPHORA LIGHT-UP MIRROR TO GO (€12,90)
Need to retouch your lipstick in a nightclub, or some other dark place? This small mirror lights up, making touch ups a breeze everywhere you are. Available at Sephora.

SEPHORA LASH AMPLIFIER (€4,00)
It looks like an instrument of torture, but this thing helps you maximize the volumizing effect of your mascara. The curvy part protects your lid, allowing you to apply mascara without staining your skin, while the comb separates lashes. Available at Sephora.

SEPHORA UNIVERSAL ATOMIZER (€10,90)
Would you like to bring your favourite fragrance with you wherever you go? Then, you must check out this practical atomizer. It is available in a neutral silver and bold fuchsia and purple shades. Available at Sephora.

SEPHORA 3D PRECISION SPONGE (€9,90)
This 3D makeup sponge, inspired by professional makeup artists, makes it easy to apply all kinds of face products, such as foundation, concealer, and blush. Use the rounded end of the sponge to cover large areas of the face and the pointed end to reach trickier spots and angles. Available at Sephora.

BOBBI BROWN BRIGHTENING BRICK COLLECTION (£34.00)
Your go-to product for a lit-from-within glow, Bobbi’s Brightening Brick combines the warmth of a bronzer and the soft flush of a blush with a gorgeous, subtle glow. It’s available in six versions. My favourite is Pastel Pink, which features soft pink, white, and bronze shades. Available at Bobbi Brown.

What’s on your wishlist this week?

What I’m Reading Now

everyday ambassador
Everyday Ambassador: Make a Difference by Connecting in a Disconnected World by Kate Otto
Technology allows us to instantly communicate with people all over the world, yet these interactions are rarely meaningful. Rather than bringing strangers closer together, technology seems to pull friends further apart. That’s because we often use it for the wrong reasons (like boosting our egos) rather than help others and make a difference in the world. How can you fix that? Otto provides lots of practical tips, and also stresses the importance of the four qualities that should guide our use of technology, and our lives: empathy, patience, focus and humility. By sharing her experiences, and those of others, working for NGOs all over the world, Otto teaches us how to become an everyday ambassador. That’s someone who sees all people as equally, worthy of respect. Someone who listens to others, even those they don’t like or agree with. Someone who is open to different cultures, opinions, and ways of life. Someone who takes the time to understand a problem and its causes. Only then, we can truly start fixing what’s wrong in the world. If we use it right, technology can help us do that. Although you’ll probably want to go volunteer abroad after reading this book, you don’t have to work for any NGO to benefit from its wisdom. The advice here is useful to anyone, and can help us live richer, more meaningful lives even if we never leave our small communities. We can always make a difference, wherever we are, even by doing the simplest things, like taking the time to really listen, without judging. I highly recommend it. Available at Amazon.

The Links

Two Great Affordable Alternatives To Benefit’s ‘Roller Lash’ Mascara – London Beauty Queen

The Power Of A Bright Lip – Beautyholics Anonymous

How to look good after a long night of partying (and drinking) – The Beauty Department

Acne-Fighting Supplements: Do They Really Work? - Paula’s Choice Skincare

You May Love Your Gadgets, But Does Your Skin Also Love Them? - Acne Einstein

Sunday Survey, Vol.251

1. Have you ever had a crush on someone at work?
Not yet, and I’m glad of it. I think it could make things quite complicated.

2. Do you pop pimples?
Nope, never. I’d rather use a spot treatment to get rid of it, and concealer to hide it in the meantime.

3. I’m really looking forward to…
Sunny and warm weather. It’s been cold and gloomy for too long…

4. Do you prefer to exfoliate in the morning or at night?
At night.

5. Do you wear capes?
Nope. So far I haven’t found one I love. I prefer coats, anyway.

It’s your turn now!
1. Have you ever had a crush on someone at work?
2. Do you pop pimples?
3. I’m really looking forward to…
4. Do you prefer to exfoliate in the morning or at night?
5. Do you wear capes?

Disclosure: I received the book from Netgalley. In addition, the post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

Sunday Random Ramblings, Vol.176

Hello gorgeous,

another week, another round of Random Ramblings. Ready? Here we go:

Confessions Of A Beauty Blogger

confessions of a beauty blogger

Beauty bloggers have a reputation for always looking polished, taking perfect care of their skin, and just never put a food wrong beauty-wise. That’s what we show you. But, behind the scenes, the reality is very different. We don’t always practice what we preach, can be lazy, and have some pretty bad habits.

It’s time for me to ‘fess up some of my secret, shocking beauty confessions. Here we go:

1. I very rarely finish makeup products. I test so much stuff for the blog that it’s almost impossible for me to hit pan on anything. When I do, I know I’ve found a HG gem.

2. I don’t clean my brushes as often as I should. Probably only every couple of weeks, but sometimes, I can put it off for a month. The only exception are my foundation and concealer brushes. I do wash those often.

3. I don’t take as good care of my brows as I should either.
It feels like a chore. Beauty should never feel like one. It should be fun. If it isn’t, I’ll put it off… and off… and off. Luckily, I like their natural shape, but I think I should tweeze them more often. *sighs*

4. I rarely wear nail polish. I love it, but both application and removal are a hassle I’d rather do without. So, it’s something I usually reserve for special occasions.

5. I stopped keeping count of how much stuff I have. My collection now fills five large and deep drawers, and keeps expanding. Soon, it’ll kick me out of my room. lol

6. I can’t stop buying pink lipglosses, even though I have too many and they are starting to look all the same. *ahem*

7. I don’t always leave the house with the FOTD.
Sometimes, I create a look just to show you up how pretty something is, and then, I take it off.

8. I can spend up to two hours in a bath. I know it’s not good for skin, especially when the water is boiling hot. But it feels so warm and relaxing!

9. Whenever I can, I try to wash my hair in the evening, or on days I stay at home, so I can avoid blowdrying it. That’s just too boring.

10. I’m crap at styling my hair. I just don’t know what to do with it. Learning how to create a few basic hairstyles is one of my resolutions for 2015, but so far it’s been a slow and frustrating process.

11. I hate skincare press releases. They are all full of incomprehensible, scientific-sounding jargon touting this or that natural extract that, in reality, does nothing for skin. It’s just there to make the product look natural and good.

12. I also dread it when I’m sent skincare products before I had the chance to check the ingredients. Chances are, they are just over-hyped, basic formulas that moisturise and do nothing else. So disappointing!

I’d love to hear your secret beauty confessions too!

Beauty Wishlist, Vol.03

beauty wishlist 03

KEVYN AUCOIN THE CONTOUR BOOK – THE ART OF SCULPTING + DEFINING ($59.00):
Contouring is in now, but a lot of us are still scared to give it a go. Having the right products is not enough to master one of the most challenging makeup techniques ever. You also need the right tips, tricks, and instructions. This gorgeous book contains both: contouring and highlight powders, and a helpful illustrated guide that teaches you how to apply them properly. Available at Sephora.

LUSH BUBBLEGRUB BUBBLE BAR ($7.95)
I hate bugs, but this one is adorable! It smells like vanilla, tonka, and sandalwood, and has eyes made from two types of chocolate. It promises to moisturise your skin too. Available at Lush.

LUSH HOPPITY POPPITY BATH BOMB ($4.95)
Hop this cute bunny in your bath, and let its refreshing scent (violet, lime, and lavender) energize you. The bunny also contains green popping candles that crackle, pop, and sizzle as you bath! Available at Lush.

BOBBI BROWN ART STICKS ($26.00)
Gorgeous, creamy, and moisturising, the new shades of Art Sticks – Hot Berry, Hot Pink, and Hot Orange – are fun and perfectly complement a nude eye. Available at Bobbi Brown.

ARTDECO MAGIC FIX (€12.80)
Don’t you hate it when lipstick feathers, bleeds into fine lines around the lips, and leaves stains everywhere? Now, you don’t have to put up with that anymore. Magic Fix comes to your rescue. It creates an invisible shield on the lips that makes your lippie transfer-proof and waterproof. Available at European drugstores.

What I’m Reading Now

crystallizing public opinionCrystallizing Public Opinion by Edward L. Bernays
Little known today, Edward L. Bernays was the father of public relations. In 1923, he wrote a book, or better a manifesto, about the significance of the public relation counsel, the scope and function of PR, the techniques used to shape public opinion, and the role this then new profession would play in a democratic society. That’s the most fascinating and terrifying part. Here, Bernays describes the “herd mentality” and explains how the masses are driven by emotions and primal instincts rather than logic and reason, which allows them to be easily manipulated by unscrupulous elites. Bernays, instead, believes the masses should be managed by an educated, honest elite, and stresses the ethical practices necessary to prevent the masses from being taken advantage of.
Although written soi long ago, everything Bernays says is still very relevant to our time. The only thing that’s dated is the writing style. Very formal, it is hardly engaging for modern readers used to a more colloquial tone. Even so, I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in understanding how PR, marketing, and advertising work, or who simply doesn’t want to be taken advantaged of by them. Available at Barnes And Noble.

The Links

How to rainbow color your hair for the weekend – Phyrra

Three Great Eyeliner Pens For Perfecting Cat Flicks – London Beauty Queen

My New Favourite Type of Packaging! Dr Lewinn’s, Code - Lab Muffin

Chemo Dry Skin: Care and Products to Help – Ageless Beauty

No More Mascara Marks - The Beauty Department

Sunday Survey, Vol.250

1. Your biggest boy band crush as a teen?
Boyzone. I was obsessed with them, and had a huge crush on Ronan Keating. He was so cute! :oops:

2. Have you ever had your makeup stolen?
Thankfully, not yet. I hope that’ll never happen.

3. Are you wearing your hair up or down today?
Down.

4. Gold, rose gold, or silver jewellery?
I’m a sucker for rose gold jewellery. So pretty!

5. Do you like jumpsuits?
Not really. Some are very pretty and flattering, but they are so not practical. You have to completely undress to use the bathroom!

It’s your turn now!
1. Your biggest boy band crush as a teen?
2. Have you ever had your makeup stolen?
3. Are you wearing your hair up or down today?
4. Gold, rose gold, or silver jewellery?
5. Do you like jumpsuits?

Disclosure: I received the book from Netgalley. In addition, this post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

Sunday Random Ramblings, Vol.175

Hello everyone,

it’s that time of the week again. Yep, time for some random ramblings. Here we go:

shopping Italy

Fancy a shopping spree in Italy? Here’s what you must know to pull it off without awkward mistakes:

1. When you enter and leave a shop, greet the owner and/or salesperson. It is just good manners. You get extra points if you do it in Italian. Most Italians can understand simple greetings like “hello” and “bye”, but not why they should speak a foreign language in their own country. They love it when you at least try and make an attempt to speak Italian. But don’t fret. A simple “ciao” will do, both when you come in and leave. You can also say “arrivederci”, but only upon leaving.

2. Handling inventory is allowed only in some shops. Usually, the more expensive and luxurious the merchandise, the less touching allowed. If you’d like to see something, ask the SA to show it to you (posso vedere? can I see?). You can just browse of course, but they’ll be watching you closely to make sure you don’t touch/ruin/steal anything. In stores that sell cheap merchandise, like H&M and Terranova, you can just touch and try whatever you want. In any case, never touch anything that’s part of the window display. That’s very rude. Also, never touch fruits and vegetables with bare hands, not even at produce markets. Put on the plastic gloves provided or ask the vendor to bag your choices.

3. When shopping for clothes, don’t bring too much stuff into the dressing room. Usually, you can only try 3 or 4 pieces at a time. The exact number is stated on notices around the shop or the dressing room area, so pay attention to it. If you bring one more than permitted, they may let it pass, but if you pick up too much stuff, they’ll reprimand you. If you plan on buying a lot of stuff, use the basket (when provided) or ask a SA if you can leave some stuff at the cashier’s desk while you go hunting for more.

4. Italy is still a cash-based culture. While you can, of course, pay with your credit card, that’s usually reserved for medium or large purchases. Rarely you see people pay for a €10.00 lipstick with a credit card.

5. When paying, put the coins down on the dish provided. The cashier will do the same when giving you your change (il resto). Also, sellers prefer when you pay the exact amount. Back when we had liras, most transactions were in banknotes (it was easy to give small change that way), but the euro has changed that. Now small change can only be given in coins and there never seem to be enough of those in the till, as people still prefer to pay in banknotes whenever they can. So, don’t be surprised if they ask you if can pay some of the amount with coins. It is easier for them than changing your banknotes.

6. Retailers are happy to exchange merchandise, but only if you return the product in perfect condition (usually that means unused or even unopened), accompanied with the receipt, and within one or two weeks. Unless you bought something while it was on sale. Those purchases are usually final.

7. Refunds, instead, are rarely given. You can’t buy something, try it, decide that you don’t like it, and return it. You can ask for a refund only if there is something seriously wrong with the product, and only if you have kept the receipt. Even then, they’ll probably only exchange your faulty product with one that works. Italian retailers would do anything to avoid annulling a transaction and give you your money back (not sure if it is due to greediness, pride, or too much bureaucracy), so think carefully before making a purchase.

8. Don’t eat, drink, nor smoke in a shop. The latter is forbidden by law, while the former are just good manners. Yes, sometimes you’ll come across a shop owner who smokes in his own store, but that doesn’t mean you can do it too.

What are the shopping “rules” in your country?

Beauty Wishlist, Vol.2

beauty wishlist 02

BENEFIT THE POREFESSIONAL LICENSE TO BLOT ($20.00)
Just in time for the warm season that sends oil production into overdrive, Benefit has created an oil-blotting stick with tiny invisible blotting spheres that mattifies shine for up to six hours after application. The specially designed triangular tip targets shiny zones — the sides of your nose, forehead, and chin — for a smooth, flawless finish. Available at Sephora.

TOO FACED #TFNOFILTER SELFIE POWDERS ($36.00)
I hate selfies, but I like the idea of powders that act as filters for the real world. This gorgeous palette features three that mimic the effects of your favourite photo filters. Sunrise provides a brightening diffused warmth, Totally Toasted a bronzed smoothing glow, and Moon River a cool ethereal light. Available at Sephora.

JO LOVES WHITE ROSE & LEMON LEAVES (£95.00)
I love the bottle, it is so simple yet elegant, like the juice inside. Perfectly balanced with subtle strands of citrus and the softest cedarwood, this fresh, elegant Norma Jean white rose has a unique depth that increases as it warms and settles on the skin. It features notes of white rose oil, lemon peel, rose absolute, petitgrain, honey, and amber. Available at Jo Loves.

TOO FACED COCOA CONTOUR PALETTE ($40.00)
Contouring is big now. The current makeup trend is all about sculpted, highlighted face that brings your best features forward. To help you achieve it, Too Faced has created this adorable palette, which contains two essential sculpting shades, two highlighters (one matte and the other shimmering), and a contouring brush. Available at Sephora.

NARS DUAL-INTENSITY BLUSH ($45.00)
This beautiful blush features NARS’ exclusive Translucent Prismatic Technology, a new formula that allows for multi-dimensional effects with a uniquely weightless, luxurious texture. It is available in 6 variants. My favourite is Adoration (pictured above), which contains two shimmering pink shades, one soft, the other bold. Available at Sephora.

What’s on your beauty wishlist this week?

What I’m Reading Now

wicked women chris enss
Wicked Women: Notorious, Mischievous, and Wayward Ladies from the Old West by Chris Enss
During the late nineteenth century, while men were rushing to the Old West in search of gold and land, women of easy virtue, prostitutes, and gamblers, knowing there was a lot of money to be made, followed suit. It was often a choice dictated by poverty, not will or inclination. Single women were very vulnerable back then, and many turned to a life of prostitution, professional gambling, and crime only after they were widowed, left orphaned, or were abandoned by their husbands. Resourceful and bold, a lot of them found ways to thrive in the Old West, but they all paid a high price for it. The book introduces us to many wicked women, from the infamous Calamity Jane and Belle Starr, to lesser-known figures such as Josie Washburn, Nebraska’s Reluctant Madame, and Ella Watson, Wyoming Cattle Baroness. Their stories make some fascinating and interesting reading. It’s true that after a while, they tend to sound somewhat similar, but that’s no fault of the author. On the contrary, the similarities just bring home how few options these women had. Available at Amazon.

The Links

Why I Don’t Do Outfit Posts – J Is For Jen

Are Lush products really self preserving? – The Beauty Brains

FYI, This Is How Much Work Goes Into Writing ONE Single Product Review - London Beauty Queen

Beginner’s Guide to Getting Started with Cruelty Free Makeup – Phyrra

All About Oil Cleansing: A Beginner’s Guide – Lab Muffin

Sunday Survey, Vol.249

1. Have you ever fallen from a ladder?
Not yet, but then I avoid using one if I can.

2. What makes the search for your HG foundation so difficult for you?
Colour matching. Most brands simply don’t make shades pale enough for my fair skintones, and, if they do, shops rarely stock them. *sighs*

3. How are you feeling today?
Relaxed. I’m spending the day just chilling out and recharging my batteries for next week.

4. Would you rather be a robot or an alien?
An alien. I don’t like the idea of being a machine.

5. Do you like pointy-toed shoes?
Not much. They give your feet such a weird shape!

It’s your turn now!
1. Have you ever fallen from a ladder?
2. What makes the search for your HG foundation so difficult for you?
3. How are you feeling today?
4. Would you rather be a robot or an alien?
5. Do you like pointy-toed shoes?

Disclosure: I received the book from Netgalley. In addition, this post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

Sunday Random Ramblings, Vol.174

Hello gorgeous,

ready for some random ramblings? I’m introducing a new feature this week. It’s called Beauty Wishlist, and, in it, I’ll show you the new beauty products that catch my eye every week. I hope you’ll enjoy it. Please, let me know what you think in the comments. Thank you!

My Favourite French Design

favourite french designers

France is the capital of fashion, a title the country gained and still manages to hold thanks to the creativity and talent of the many designers that were born on her soil. Here are my favourites:

Chanel

Coco Chanel revolutionised fashion. She replaced structured-silhouettes, based upon the corset and the bodice, with clothes that were simpler, practical, and very fashionable. Famous for her little black dresses and chic suits, she used fabrics and colours, such as navy, that were previously used mostly for men’s garments, giving them a feminine twist. Decades later, the brand she founded is still going strong. Chanel managed to modernize and keep up with the times without betraying its founder’s vision.

Jean Paul Gaultier

The enfant terrible of French fashion is one of the most talented, creative, and innovative designers of our times. His ready-to-wear collections are strongly influenced by street wear and pop culture, while his haute couture designs are more formal, yet they all are irreverent, fun, and playful. I also love that he’s not afraid of using unconventional models, such as plus size women, older men, and heavily tattooed individuals.

Dior

Dior entered the fashion scene with a bang. His first collection went down in history as the “New Look”, and featured a feminine silhouette with a small, nipped-in waist and a full skirt falling below mid-calf length, which emphasised the bust and hips. The look, which was a refreshing change from the more austere and masculine fashions worn during the second world war, was so popular that soon it was worn and copied by everyone. But I have to admit I’m not too keen on the direction the brand has taken in the past few years under creative director Raf Simons. He’s talented, but his designs are too modern and not sophisticated enough for Dior. I see Dior as timeless but Raf’s collections have been quite forgettable.

Isabel Marant

Described as a “combination of androgynous chic and bohemian nonchalance”, Marant’s aesthetic is cool and casual. Marant loves mixing tailored pieces with more fluffy garments, while her embroidery gives them a chic modern twist. Her clothes are perfect for the girl who wants a “perfectly tousled but never over-thought look.”

Who are your favourite French designers?

Beauty Wishlist, Vol.1

beauty wishlist 01

MAKE UP FOR EVER STEP 1 SKIN EQUALIZER ($36.00)
Make Up For Ever has just released a new range of primers to mattify, smooth, nourish, and colour correct the skintone. My favourite is Radiant Primer, which balances the skintone for a naturally radiant glow. It is available in three shades: pink for fair skintones with yellow undertones; blue for fair and medium skintones with yellow undertones; and peach (pictured above) for fair and medium skintones with neutral undertones. Available at Sephora.

KERASTASE SOLID SERUM ($32.99)
I love the idea of a solid serum for hair. It’s easier to apply, and a lot less messy than a liquid one. It is a blend of 15 oils that treat split ends and tame frizz and fly aways. And it’s easy to carry around with you for emergencies. Available at Amazon.

ESSENCE CINDERELLA COLLECTION
Cinderella has a lot of admirers. After MAC, Essence is now releasing its own, cheaper and in my opinion prettier too, collection inspired by the Disney princess. Here are my favourite picks:

  • Eyeshadow Palette (€4,89): it features 6 silky shades inspired by the Disney movie: lilac, navy blue, light blue, ivory, pale pink, and cool gold.
  • Blush (€4,19): a gorgeous intense pink shade that gives cheeks a fresh and healthy look.
  • Highlighting Powder (€4,19): a stunning shimmering pink powder that gives skin a princessy glow.
  • Top Coat Glitter (€2,49): this shiny top coat is infused with iridescent lilac and silver glitters; it can be used alone or on top of nail polishes.

The collection will reach shops this month.

What’s on your wishlist this week?

What I’m Reading Now

success secrets of the online marketing superstars
Success Secrets of the Online Marketing Superstars by Mitch Meyerson
Online marketing is something no business owner and serious bloggers can afford to ignore. To help you out, Meyerson has enlisted the help of online marketing superstars, such as Brian Clark, Sonia Simone, Eric Ward, and Kim Garst. Each of them has penned a short but informative chapter about their area of expertise. These chapters are divided in three section. The first focuses on the mindset you need to adopt and the strategy you need to create before you start to marketing. The second section is all about how to increase traffic to your website. The last, and longest, one, discusses how to leverage apps and tools, such as videos, podcasts, email lists, and social media channels.
The book covers all the basis of online marketing, which makes it a must read for marketing newbies. If you’re not new to marketing, instead, you’ll probably be familiar with most of the tips and strategies outlined here. I was, but I still discovered some new tools to make the creation and sharing of marketing content easier. Everything is explained very clearly too. When a book has so many authors, one or two chapters are usually more boring, more poorly-written, and less informative than the others. But not here. These authors are all online marketing superstars, and they know how to teach you the basics while keeping you engaged and glued to the page. Available at Amazon.

The Links

What SPF sunscreen should I use? – The Beauty Brains

How to look good while you workout – 3 long-lasting hairstyle tutorials you can wear all day – Hair Romance

My Top 3 Sheer Red Lipsticks for Beginners – Makeup 4 All

A To Z Guide To Anti-Aging - Renee Rouleau

12 Lessons learned from Lisa Eldridge
- Splattershare

Sunday Survey, Vol.240

1. I could spend all day long…?
Reading history books.

2. What do you like about your hair?
Its brown colour. I think it suits me well.

3. Around what time do you usually have dinner?
7pm. Not so early that I’ll get hungry again before bed, but no so late to prevent me from sleeping well if I eat a bit too much.

4. Shower gel or bar soap?
Shower gel. I find most bar soaps too drying for my already dry skin.

5. Do you like playing Twister?
With the right crowd, it is so much fun!

It’s your turn now!
1. I could spend all day long…?
2. What do you like about your hair?
3. Around what time do you usually have dinner?
4. Shower gel or bar soap?
5. Do you like playing Twister?

Disclosure: I received the book from Netgalley. In addition, this post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my disclaimer.