Posts Tagged ‘Bringing the Beauty’

Travel Diary: Paris Beauty Tour 2014 – Paradis Latin Cabaret


Paris is known for their cabarets. To most people the famous cabaret was a popular Oscar-nominted movie, but Paradis Latin Cabaret is actually older than the one known in the movies. The cabaret was designed by Gustav Eiffel, the designer behind the Eiffel Tower. Paradis Latin has over 50 dancers and can accommodate over 700 guests for dinner and the show. We were treated to a behind the designs and backstage tour. As you can see from the photos the dancers have perfected their stage makeup. I spoke with the dancers’ captain Vanina Rouvier and she told me they can do their entire face in 30 minutes. Wow. She states she rarely wears makeup outside of her job. The key she said to maintaining their flawless skin is lots of water, CILS makeup remover, and rest.

Our group, the American bloggers, had a table in the center of all the action. At one point the arobatics of part of the show literally had us knocking over our drinks because we weren’t ready for how close we were to part of the show. The cabaret’s dinner menu consists of a fixed menu and wine. Each table has champagne to start to toast the evening and the closing. I try to eat as much foie gras as I can when I’m in France and the one at Paradis Latin didn’t disappointment. The kitchen is the original kitchen and the food is prepared fresh upon order. Let’s just say restaurant week in America can take a cue on how to feed 700 people with food made to order

The cabaret features nudity, but it is tasteful. It’s not just a T&A show and the dancing is impeccable. They have 5 male dancers and the show features various dancing, but it’s the Can-Can dance that takes the show. The cabaret offers Can-Can classes and I think it would be a lot of fun to learn the dance in France.

The cabaret’s visitors are mainly French. Let that sink in for a minute. Seventy percent of the guests each night are French. If it’s good enough for them, then it is good enough for me.

Paradis Latin Cabaret
28 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine
Paris, France 75005
Metro: Cardinal Lemoine





































This post is brought to you in collaboration with Atout France – France Tourism Development Agency and Paradis Latin Cabaret. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that allow me to create new and special content like this for All About the Pretty and Luxe Beauty Journeys.

Travel Diary: Paris Beauty Tour 2014 – French Beauty Shopping at Pharmacie Monge


After expanding our fragrance wardrobe and lunch it was time to visit a traditional French pharmacy – Pharmacie Monge and the soon to be opened Perfumerie Monge. Pharmacie Monge is one of the largest pharmacies in the city with over 2500 visitors a day.

First, let’s discuss Parisian pharmacies. Pharmacies in Paris sell a plethora of skin and beauty brands. It’s more than a drugstore. It’s a beauty destination where women get high end and every day products, as well as, pick up prescriptions. Pharmacie Monge actually consists of three different stores next to each other – beauty, home, baby. Think of all the French brands you see in the states including Clarins, Caudalie, and Nuxe. They are all in the pharmacie and a few items you can’t find in the states such as the Caudalie Fig Fragrance, Biguine makeup, La Roche Posay makeup and Eucerin’s ph5 Oil Bodywash which I had to have.

My adoration of the pharmacy is to stock up on all the items I can’t find in the U.S. and the ones that are 4 times as expensive because they are imported. The two important ones are Avibon, which they don’t make any more, but I found a replacement Fletagex and Homeoplasmine. Avibon/Fletagex are pure retinol, also known as, Vitamin A. Retinol is the one product that will diminish the appearance of wrinkles and this product is thick like an ointment. It’s made a significant difference in my laugh lines over the past few years. The other product is Homeoplasmine. This ointment is good for cuts, burns, rashes, and it works fast. If I burn myself cooking I apply this before anything else. Voila, healed.

Many of the ladies were new to the French pharmacie experience which is a madhouse. Imagine Black Friday shopping, but on a regular day. It’s worth it. I am a huge fan of the Caudalie Beauty Elixir and have been for years. I never step foot on a plane without one. It’s half the price here. You know I stocked up.

Pharmacie Monge has just opened a perfumery across the street. I can’t wait to bring the group back next year for visit.

Pharmacie Monge
74 Rue Monge
Paris, France 75005
Metro: Place Monge


{Ricardo of My Paris VIP having fun with us!}



{The participants were gifted with a 100 Euros to shop!}


{The now open Perfumerie Monge}


{Carmen blowing a kiss to all these French beauty products.}

{Homeoplasmine get in my basket!}


 {Beauty shopping is hard work!}

Beauty shopping

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Atout France – France Tourism Development Agency, My Paris VIP, and Pharmacie Monge. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that allow me to create new and special content like this for All About the Pretty and Luxe Beauty Journeys.

Happy Birthday to Me and Thankful for Another Year

Unraveling 2014.p1

As I have gotten older I realize the years seem to speed buy. When I was a kid it seemed as though I would never be an adult. I know you understand. It’s like where has the time gone. I’m thankful for another year full of love, laughter, fun, travel, and beauty. I start my calendar year on my birthday. I understand many people are waiting until January 1 to actually start what they plan to change, add, subtract, and plot for 2014. That’s all good and dandy, but I’m starting today. One of my pastors told us to have new year expectations. He didn’t like the word resolution. He believed you expected something when you put the work in. And you knew you would have a result.

As I enter my 41st year on this planet. Yes, ladies. It’s time to start admitting your age. I’m really tired of hearing you have been 36 for the past ten years. If you see another birthday and are healthy, embrace it. I do understand we live in a youth driven, young forever culture. Trust me I do. Don’t worry. With time they are going to get older too.

2013 has been awesome. I mean like crazy awesome and 2014 is going to be just as fun. Why? Because I’m planning on it. I’m actually believing it and will stick to believing it even when shitty times happen because they will. It’s all about mindset. I will also dream and work harder.

These are a few of my expectations. I have many more and look forward to scratching them off my list.

 Expectation 1: Daily gratitude

I used to write a daily gratitude list and it fell somewhere between where art thou and did it really exist. I truly believe happy people are grateful people. Making the list is easy. I can just type it in my Evernote. Today I am grateful for breath. I woke up with a deep and full inhale and exhale. I’m alive. What’s better than that.

Expectation 2: Blog more

I used to be very consistent in my blogging, but with traveling and life I slipped. I have already planned my January and February calendar. I plan to start and keep various series that I have been wanting to do for awhile. Beauty and travel are always at the top of the list, but I want to incorporate more wellness and food.

Expectation 3: Teach yoga

After I completed my teacher training I had absolutely no desire to teach yoga. Talking about it, going to classes and attending workshops were enough at the time. Now, I want to work on teaching. I am blessed to have found Tranquil Space Yoga in Washington, DC. They are my second family. Does this mean I will teach there? Maybe, maybe not. Right now I’m feeling called to teach and that’s all I know at the moment.

Expectation 4: Refer back to Unravelling the Year every month

If you like to plan and want to get the best out of your year I encourage you to use Susannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year. I did this for 2013 and I will say it kept me focused on my expectations/goals when I really didn’t want to. It’s not a quick assignment. It really is work. But it helped me so much in 2013 that the saga must continue.

Expectation 5: Monthly Vision Journal Dates

I am a big believer in vision journaling. I love cutting up magazines and actually putting glue to paper. Yes, I’m a tech girl, but this helps me focus. I have friends who meet monthly, but when I can’t meet with them I will do it on my own. Which is sometimes better because I won’t get distracted.

Expectation 6: The Art of Appropriate Acquisition

This year was the first year I really looked at all the unnecessary clothing that I previously purchased and thought, “WTF!” Like so many women I got caught up in every sample sale website that exist. Then I would say “I have nothing to wear.” For 2013 my thought on purchases fell under appropriate acquisition. This helped me tremendously. Did I fail at times? Yes. Thank goodness for returns. I came to my senses on tons of bad purchases, but happy that I don’t have a closet full of crap I don’t like. This will continue for 2014. It doesn’t by any means that I’m a minimalist, but I want to look in my closet and see beautiful items at all times.

Expectation 7: Attend a yoga retreat

It’s been too long since I have gone on a full yoga retreat. A retreat where I’m not having to work, but just be. I know the retreat needs to be near water because I’m such a water baby. I want a week of drinking fresh juice, daily yoga practices, and lots of rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation.

Expectation 8: Attend a writing workshop

I need to be in a room full of writers with my headphones in, head deep into writing, and plotting away on a great story, novella or book with my fellow writers.

Expectation 9: Really get healthy

Notice I didn’t say slim. I’ve gone back and forth on this health front this year. When I travel I let it go to hell in a hand basket. But, I need to realize that I feel better when I have my daily green juice/smoothie, eating nutritious and sweating everyday. This has to happen even when  I travel. I already have a half marathon scheduled in April, one in October and another in November. I also plan to attend one yoga workshop a month. Woohoo!

Expectation 10: Realize I have as many hours in a day as Beyoncé to get it done

Whether you like her or not has nothing to do with it. I’m talking about making things happen on your own terms. Yes, she has more help than most, but who am I fooling. So do I. I have a housekeeper, a husband, a mom and tons of friends that I could always lean on for support and to get things done. I am a freelancer which means I make my own schedule. Last year I decided to watch less TV and read more. I will have read 40 books by the end of the year. Was it hard? Not really? Once I put my mind to it, it was smooth sailing. I’m going to be like Nike. Just do it.

Life is about choices. Choose wisely.

{Embrace life everyday!}

Unraveling 2014.2

This photo was taken in September at Polihale Beach in Kauai. A place I now call home and can’t wait to return. This photo reminds me of how blessed I really am.

P.S. I’m taking the rest of the year off from blogging except for my Christmas day poem. I will see you in 2014. 

This Beautimous Life: May 31, 2013

The year is flying by so fast. It’s like I blinked and it’s June. I am so excited for summer and I don’t mind the heat. At all. I can’t complain about the heat because I will take 90 degrees and humid over 20 degrees and freezing. I am excited to be traveling home to Houston today to see my nephew graduate from medical school. It’s been a long 8 years for his journey and I am so proud of him. I know I will be shedding tears when he walks across that stage, but he’s more like a little brother than my nephew. I plan to get all my food feasting in, as well as, visit Ms. Juanita at Neiman Marcus, and hopefully bring back some of that famous “love dip” from Central Market.

These are my beautimous loves of my week. Have a great weekend!

{And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini}

You may recognize the name from The Kite Runner, but Khaled Hosseini is one of the best writers around today. His stories leave me wanting more words and pondering complex issues. When I read A Thousand Splendid Suns I did not want it to end. I clutched the book to my chest because I was invested in these women. I heard him speak last week about his writing process and his new book. It made me love him even more. If you are looking for your first summer must-read – this is it.


{TokyoMilk Dark ~ Tainted Love Perfume}

The perfume junkie in me was blown away by this sexy scent. It truly is dark – for summer that is. It’s a bold scent and if you are a floral fanatic I suggest you take a walk on the wild fragrance side. Get it in your lifestyle.

TokyoMilk Dark ~ Tainted Love

{Clarisonic Mia 2}

After falling in love with the regular sized Clarisonic I needed something that was smaller and a whole lot cuter. I picked this beauty up on QVC’s Saturday Beauty Event and can’t wait to bust it out for upcoming travels.

Clarisonic Mia

Reading Pretty: The Honest Life by Jessica Alba

The Honest Life

Happy first day of April! Where did the first three months of the year go? It seems to have flown by. It’s also “green month.” I’m in a constant battle of wanting to be more eco-friendly so I plan to feature some green items that I am currently loving for the month. It’s my last full day in Louisiana and I am excited to return home. I will miss my family, but I am excited to hang out with my husband, prep for a 20-day raw cleanse starting April 8 and get back to my normal routine. There is nothing like coming to Louisiana and slowing down. It refuels me. I have a ritual when I come – Sam’s Club and crawfish in no particular order.

When I arrived last week we headed straight to Sam’s Club like we always do. I have a no book/paper buying for the month of April so heading to the book section was a treat. I perused a few books, but decided to pick up Jessica Alba’s new book The Honest Life. I battled with whether or not I should be writing about another celebrity book. It’s always a catch 22 with me. I think we are in a too-celebrity driven culture, but should I not write about a book I actually enjoyed just because the author is a celebrity. Over the past few days I really got into the book. I took away some valuable information and not just on buying her products.

The book focuses on living naturally as a lifestyle and not just the trend of the moment. I know many people who do juice fasts only to realize they don’t work and are even crankier because they haven’t changed their lifestyle. I talked with my cousin about the dilemma. She is so removed from social media and blogging that her voice is fresh and what I always need when I’m stuck with things like this. She said  “You really don’t have a choice. If your review helps one person – write it. Isn’t your blog about beauty as a lifestyle? Well, this book agrees with your lifestyle. I like Jessica and I don’t even know her.” I put the photo of the book on Facebook and a few of my friends wanted to know my honest (no pun intended) opinion.

I think Jessica has done a great job with this book. I call myself pretty organized, but I can say now I’m the proud owner of a label maker. I am a scarf junkie year round and they are everywhere with no organization whatsoever. I plan to organize my scarves, clean out, label and spring clean not just my kitchen but every space in my home. I am excited to really label my spices which have taken a life of their own in my pantry. There are topics on food, home, beauty, style and baby. The book has that easy to read format where you can jump back and forth between chapters – unless you are like me and need to read from the beginning to the end. In reading the book I decided to do a little celebrity Jessica stalking. I looked at her Instagram and Twitter feeds (but I haven’t made the leap to follow). I felt like the book matched the woman and it sounded like her voice. I have a few missteps in the past with celebrity books and you can tell someone wrote it for them.

Thanks Jessica for a great book full of your tips and adorable family photos.

The Face Game Change With Olay Pro-X Even Skin Tone

I admit I was a skeptic. I have been fortunate to be blessed with good genes and a desire to take care of my skin like it’s my job. As I’ve gotten older it takes way more work for the body and definitely the face. If someone had told me I would be using a spot treatment I would have gasped like my life was over. I practice great skincare like it’s a religion. I don’t go to bed with makeup on, I wash-tone-exfoliate-moisturize-mask so often that I put it in my calendar to keep track. It’s much harder to do being married. I find myself sneaking off to “work on myself” when he’s home because the routine cannot be stopped. It’s serious business in my beauty house.

I started the Olay Pro-X Even Skin Tone challenge because I needed something for my spots. I was feeling like a wuss. Really? Spot treatment? Me? I was in desperate need of something. I know the truth about not picking your face when a bump arises, but I couldn’t help it. There I was left with a spots on my nose and chin. The kit came and I vigorously went to applying the products day and night. By the third week I had noticed a difference, but now in the last week of the challenge I am floored. The spot is seriously lighter and almost gone. I plan to keep using the product on other areas where I need some treatment. The kit contains a spot treatment in which I am deliriously in love, a brightening moisturizer (not to be confused with a lightening moisturizer) and sunscreen. Sunscreen is a must in the beauty arsenal. As we head into spring (only according to the calendar because it’s cold here in D.C.), I have purchased another kit because I’m addicted to the results.

If you are on the fence about the Pro-X Even Skin Tone kit I suggest you go right now and buy it. Your skin will thank you in 4 weeks and hopefully it will change your face game as well.

These are photos with no skincare of any kind on my face. Just straight skin. The bottom right photo is the initial before photo and the large and top right photo are from this morning. No filter. Immediately after this photo I applied the secret of the universe according to Bobbi Brown – concealer and my every day face: mascara, blush, bronzer, and lips.

ProX 4 Week Challenge

olay v4_0020_x5

Happy Anniversary All About the Pretty

Oh Ma Beaute

If time flies when you have fun, then it has been a blast over the past 7 years. Yes, 7. Seriously. Where did those seven years go? There have been ups and downs, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Everything is a lesson. From the first blog post I wanted to write about my life which focuses on beauty at its center, but on enjoying life at its core. My mission and my goal is to encourage women to live a beautimous lifestyle. It is attainable if you remain true to yourself and realize what works for you may not work for everyone else. It will take sacrifice (no more lattes for me), but it’s worth it.

The motto of All About the Pretty is beauty is a lifestyle, not a just a product. I love a great lip gloss and blush, but I must be able to also apply them at home, as well as, heading out to a restaurant in Paris, eating enchiladas and sipping margaritas in Texas and Louisiana, laying on the beach in Mexico or Kauai, and enjoying family and friends when I get the opportunity. Life is for the living as my friend Jewel so eloquently points out to me.

I purchased the above beauty pouch on my trip to St. Paul de Vence, France last year on my yoga and art journal retreat. The minute I saw it I knew I had to have it. It spoke to my belief on how life should be – Oh! Ma Beaute! (Oh! My Beauty). Beauty is everywhere. It’s inside you, around you, on your next trip, on your next purchase, and it encompasses everything about you.

I am grateful to my readers, the companies that work with me, the amazing friends I have met along the journey, and my husband and family who continue to support me and were the original readers of the blog. It’s been 7 beauty-full years and there isn’t an itch in sight. Mwah!


{Talk to Pretty to Me} Briar from Marble & Milkweed

PicMonkey Collage

Talk Pretty to Me is a series dedicated to women who create pretty things. As a lifelong beauty junkie I have always been interested on how women use their talents, creativity, and time to create items I want to buy, use, and recommend. I always say “beauty is a lifestyle, not just a product” and these women prove this to be true. Without further ado, let’s chat with Briar from Marble & Milkweed.

1. What made you decide to create a line of beauty products?

I was inspired to create Marble & Milkweed because I wanted to know exactly what I was putting on my skin. I love knowing how things work, and I wanted to see it from the inside-out. Making things for myself, I discovered that skin care doesn’t need to be complicated to be effective, and I wanted to share that. If we have reverence for it, we can trust the abundance of the natural world to take good care of us.

2. Inspiration is a huge part of creativity. What inspires you and your line?

Most of my inspiration comes to me in the form of exquisite natural raw materials. There is so much beauty there. The nostalgic aesthetic of my line is inspired by my marvelous clawfoot bathtub in the kitchen, and everything I do is inspired by the incredible fortune I’ve had to make New York City my home for the last decade. The creative energy here is incredible!

3. What ingredients do you find fun to play with and what ingredients do you want to work with in the future?

I love honey and beeswax. There is so much magic in these gifts from the bees. Oils, too. Beautiful, cold-pressed plant oils form the basis of most of my line, they are such concentrated nourishment for the skin. I also have a gorgeous organic Jasmine essence right now at the studio that I’ll be working with this year. It’s so perfect on it’s own, that it wants to be used in something radically simple.

4. What is your favorite scent?

In terms of botanicals, definitely jasmine. I also love the smell of the garden after it rains. There really is no substitute for that.

5. What are your current favorite beauty products outside of your line?

I’m a bit of minimalist in this realm. I adore the mineral make-up from Alima Pure, and Acure Organics makes a leave-in spray conditioner helps enormously with my long, tangly hair. And we always have a bottle of unscented Dr. Bronner’s by the bathtub.

6. Where do you see yourself in the beauty game in five years?

Right now, I’m in the process of looking for a studio space to call home. Once I’ve found it, I’m looking forward to keeping open studio hours for clients to drop by for a cup of tea, and to see how their products are made. I love doing custom work, and I’m looking forward to doing more of it. I love working with my clients one on one to find just the right for them. I’m also hoping to continue to add to my botanical fragrance collection over the next few years. For me, it’s something that takes an enormous amount of time. My fragrances are inspired by a moment, and unfold organically from there. I refuse to rush them. {Sidenote: I am excited to visit the studio}

7. In addition to your products, what products are in your beauty arsenal?

(See above? #5)

8. What is your favorite day of the week and time of day?

I love Mondays for their sense of possibility, and also because that’s usually the only morning that I get to sleep in a little! I love the mid-morning hours, because of the quality of the light coming through the windows at that time.

9. What is your libation of choice?

I love fresh juice, I definitely have a little Organic Avenue habit!

10. Coffee or tea?

Tea. Absolutely. I collect teas from all over the world to enjoy at home, but also to share at the tea tastings I host in my capacity as the pastry chef at Masak, in the East Village. We try to hold them once per month, and I organize them around a theme, with snacks and sweets. Our last tasting celebrated the Lunar New Year with some unique and rare organic Chinese teas. It is such a treat to watch people discover tea.

11. What are you currently reading, listening to, and watching?

I’ve just finished a book by Simon Garfield called “On The Map”, it’s a fascinating history of maps and mapping. We also get the New Yorker, and I loved a recent piece about wandering in New York City by the late Joseph Mitchell. Honestly, I’ve gotten quite out of the habit of watching anything at all – the moving picture isn’t really my medium. I listen to a lot of Indian classical music, and music from West Africa, especially Mali.

12. Paper, digital, or both?

Both! It’s a delicate balance being an analog artisan in a world that’s becoming increasingly digital. I think it’s very important to keep traditional methods alive. I love sending cards through the mail, but I also love being able to get in touch in an instant. I think that being conscious and contemplative about the ways we use technology is the key to finding equilibrium in this regard.

13. What is the song you dance to when you are alone?

Right now, Zen by Rokia Traoré

14. Where is your next destination to wander?

My sweetheart and I will be back in the Pacific Northwest (where I’m from) in the late summer, and a trip to Europe may be in the cards for next Spring. When we aren’t able to leave town, sometimes just wandering around Chinatown, or exploring an unfamiliar neighborhood in the city feels like an adventure.

15. Self-care is important in our busy world. It seems we always need to be connected and for many it is hard to disconnect. How do you practice self-care?

This is so crucial. And something I can get better at. As a small business owner, it’s easy to get sucked into being “on” all the time, but you just can’t do it. It’s impossible. You just have to be in tune with yourself and know when to let things be for the day. Of course, as I write this, it’s 1 am. Sigh. Basically, I get into the bathtub. That’s my sanctuary, and there is nothing more comforting than being cocooned in there with a good read. I also go walking, because I can’t do much else at the same time. It really clears my mind. I walk during the winter, too, but I get so giddy in the Spring when I can walk at night through the Village for hours in just a light sweater.

Merci, Briar for talking pretty to me!

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