Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Paris Beauty Tour 2014 – Lunch at La Taverna with My Paris VIP and the Pharmacie Monge Team

La Taverna

The group was treated to lunch by Ricardo of My Paris VIP and the Pharmacie Monge Team. La Taverna is located in the heart of the seventh district on the Champ de Mars. The restaurant is owned by Chef Didier who also owns Café Blue Roi at Versailles.. The restaurant is small, quaint, and has amazing food. They actually make their bread in house.

The meal was a great way to discuss what makes Paris so special and the French joie de vivre thanks to Ricardo. Our hosts were lively and explained the misconceptions of the French. He explained the dance of greeting that happens in shops. In America we typically walk into a store and expect them to greet us. In France, it’s the opposite. The customer says hello first and the relationship begins. If you are used to speaking before greeting I highly suggest not doing that in Paris.

Our menu consisted of appetizers, a delicious main course and dessert. Before lunch I asked the participants to put away their phones. I know this is hard in the U.S., but you don’t see people disconnecting with their dining companions as much in France. The meal was over two hours which is normal outside of the states. It was more pleasurable due to the fact we were all present. I understand the distraction of technology, but it was great just experiencing a meal without wondering if I needed to check email.

La Taverna
22 Rue du Champ de Mars
75007 Paris, France
Metro: École Militaire










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.

Travel Diary: Paris Beauty Tour 2014 – Olfactive Studios + Céline Verleur


I discovered Olfactive Studios in April while in California. I had just taken an amazing yoga class with my friend Mary Beth and decided to head to Abbot Kinney Boulevard to look around and explore. Abbott Kinney is known as a shopping street, but with small boutique shops that cater to an eclectic crowd. I walked into the store Bazaar and the first thing I noticed was a distinct bottle of fragrance. It was square, the font on the packaging was clean, and the top resembled something I couldn’t explain. I sniffed each of the five fragrances, but the one that spoke to me was Still Life. Still Life has notes of yuzu, pink pepper, black pepper, dark rum, and cedar. I immediately was hooked and couldn’t stop thinking and dreaming about the fragrance. I decided to grab lunch and while at lunch I decided I couldn’t leave California without Still Life. I needed this fragrance in the beauty arsenal.

When I was deciding who I wanted to work with for the Paris Beauty Tour I wanted to reach out to Olfactive Studios. The brand is the collaboration of perfume and photography which is a different concept for a fragrance brand. No celebrity factor, thank goodness! No big, bold and crazy ad space taking over what the fragrances are about. The idea is fragrance as art. Olfactive Studios is the brainchild of Céline Verleur, the creative director. After numerous emails and Skype calls the date was set. On Friday morning, we headed to Jovoy, a rare perfume boutique in Paris to meetCéline, discuss the concept of Olfactive Studios, and to explore fragrance as part of our personalities. Jovoy only sells one thing – fragrances from all over the world and some of the most exquisite and rare essences created. I was a kid in a fragrance candy store. Jovoy also has their own line of fragrances and candles and I’m dreaming of returning to get their amber candle. It was my fault I didn’t pick it up before I left.

Céline gave us the background and concept of Olfactive Studios. To create fragrances based on photography instead of a fragrance for men and women. In Paris, many fragrances are created as unisex and can be worn by men and women. The marketing doesn’t place gender on the fragrances. Céline works with various photographers and perfumers or noses to create the scent. For example, Lumière Blanc or White Light is based on a photo by Massimo Vitali. The photo was taken in Sicily, Italy, but when viewed looks as if it was taken during the winter. She wanted a scent that can be worn to bed and was soft. It’s a beautiful scent and I can see wearing it on those days I want to be home relaxing and reading and want a soft scent to wear around the house.


I chose Chambre Noir or Darkroom. The photo by Mercy René-Bazin drew me. There was something about the light and the hotel room that I couldn’t place until Céline informed me the photo was taken in Egypt. The beauty light bulb went off. I got engaged in front of the pyramids of Egypt therefore it holds a special place to me. Chambre Noir smells like Egypt. I have been in the mood for more masculine based scents. I can’t get enough of anything with a patchouli base. Chambre Noir has notes of sandalwood, patchouli, musk, vanilla, violet, and leather. I can’t wait to wear this fragrance in the summer as well when the heat is high because it’s going to change the composition of the fragrance and the heat is going to make the scent even more enjoyable.

Jovoy Perfumes
4 Rue Castiglione
Paris, France 75001
Metro: Tuileries

{The scent that started it all}


{Various scents in Jovoy}















{Roja and his Amber Aoud had me tearing up in Bergdorf’s.}






IMG_3898 IMG_3899


The brains and visionary behind this amazing brand – Céline}



This post is brought to you in collaboration with Atout France – France Tourism Development Agency, Jovoy Rare Perfumes, and Olfactive Studios. 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 – Galeries Lafayette

Galeries Lafayette is considered in Paris one of the grand magasins or department store. It’s massive. It’s a total of 4 separate buildings and the main building over 120 years old with a beautiful glass dome 102 years. Let’s think about that for a minute. The department store encompasses over 3 city blocks. Bigger is definitely better in Paris. The store has fashion and beauty, but jewelry, a men’s store, a home store and a food emporium.


Galeries Lafayette has niche fashion and beauty brands and there is so much to see. All the major French beauty brands are represented along with some smaller batch beauty brands such as Nivea Cosmetics. Yes, Nivea has a massive cosmetic line that includes more than lip balms in France. A few of the top brands in Paris at Galeries Lafayette are Dior, Sisley, and L’Artisan Perfumeur.


Sisley skincare is what sealed my love of luxury beauty products. I was in Paris and my teacher’s skin was flawless. Seriously. You will notice most women in Paris have amazing skin. The belief that pretty makeup looks good on pretty skin is evident. I couldn’t stop staring at her. I asked what she used and she said, “Sisleya by Sisley will transform you.” Needless to say I used all my francs (no Euro at the time) before I came home to purchase the moisturizer. I was hooked. I was already a skin junkie, but this put it over the edge. I was a goner – French beauty for life.


At Galeries Lafayette Sisley premier products rain supreme and the lovely ladies are very knowledge about the product. Ask any question and they have an answer.


YSL in my opinion is one of the best luxury French brands. If you don’t own their No. 1 lipstick Le Rouge, I suggest you make a beeline and purchase it. You need it in your lifestyle. It’s a perfect red for all shades and is so moisturizing that you might actually think you applied a gloss when you didn’t. They are known for their Touche Eclat concealer, which I love, but for me it’s their eye and lip products that are transforming.


My love of fragrance knows no bounds. Some women wake up in the morning and decide what they want to wear based on their mood. I do the same only with scent. The clothes are secondary. The woman I want to be some days prefers soft scents and other days a fragrance that is bold and unapologetically in your face. Which happens to be my personality.


I know that Dior is one brand that moves me emotionally. Dior Private Collection scents are vast in ranges, but trust me you won’t smell like anyone else. My favorites are Oud Ispahan, Grand Bal, and Bois D’Argent. The new exclusive just lauched at Galeries Lafayette and I was eyeing them hard. I hope the husband is reading this post because the Oud has my name on it although I will have to come back to Paris to pick it up. It’s okay. There are daily flights from Dulles to Charles de Gaulle sweetie. Thank you.


Galeries Lafayette is more than just shopping and an amazing view from the terrace. They also have an in department store museum. Yes, you read that correctly. A museum on the 1st floor that once you walk in you forget you are in a store. The exhibitions change every three month.
The store also has one of the best rooftop views in all of Paris.
40 Blvd. Haussmann
Paris, France 75009
Metro: Havre Caumartin
{The ceiling of Galeries Lafayette}
{The prettiest store on the planet}
{A little obsessed with Dior’s Private Collection Fragrances}
{Sisley Cosmetics}
{Kenya’s daytime smoky eye from YSL Cosmetics.}
{YSL’s latest fragrance Black Opium}
{ L’Artisan Parfumeur}
{Fragrance orbs at L’Artisan}
{Museum inside Galeries Lafayette}
{Views from the rooftop terrace}
{The Food Store}
{After a day of beauty it was all about eating – a burger with steak frites and red wine!}
This post is brought to you in collaboration with Atout France – France Tourism Development Agency and Galeries Lafayette. 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 – Le Labo Fragrances

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We started our first journey into French beauty at Le Labo Fragrances. Le Labo is short for “the laboratory” and the boutique definitely resembles a lab. Although the fragrances are available in the U.S. learning about the history of the brand, at the original store, is the real reason I wanted to visit. The fragrance company was started in Paris and there is something about having the experience there. Also, this was right before we found out Estee Lauder had purchased Le Labo. This made it extra special.

Agatha at Le Labo gave us the history behind the scents and the process for making the fragrances. In Europe many scents are unisex. They aren’t marketed to one gender, which means you are free to explore. I love masculine scents as well and often times I get a weird look for admitting I wear men’s fragrances. You fall for a fragrance based on who you want to be at the time.

Le Labo Fragrances are all hand created at the time of your purchase. What this process means is you pick your scent. I prefer Vanille 44 and Santal 33. The number represents the extra number of ingredients in each of the fragrances. The vanilla 44 extra ingredients to create a sexy and musk vanilla scented fragrance. Also, Vanille 44 is only available at Le Labo Paris boutiques.

Once you have selected your Le Labo fragrance the fragrance mixoligist as I like to call them gathers all the ingredients from their refrigerator as you watch the process of the scents being measured, poured, and created. It’s a wonderful feeling to experience something so personal. After the fragrance is bottled then the label process begins. You are asked what you want on the label. Patricia’s Ambrette 9 label has “2014 Paris Beauty Tour.” Beautimous!

6 Rue de Bourbon Le Chateau
Paris, France 75006
Metro: Saint Germain des Pres
 {Inside Le Labo}
{I love the laboratory feel of the space.}
{I can never have too many candles.}
{A spicy and sexy vanilla fragrance}
 {Santal 33 is one of Le Labo’s most popular scents}
{Oud all day, everyday}
{Travel size}
 {Creating the fragrance}
{Ingredients in the refrigerator ready to be made into your chosen scent}
{Lianne’s Lys 41}
{Patricia’s Ambrette 9 with the Paris Beauty Tour 2014 name}
 {With Agatha who gave us an exclusive on Le Labo}
 {Le Labo has boutiques around the world, but the original Paris location is a must visit.}
This post is brought to you in collaboration with Atout France – France Tourism Development Agency and Le Labo Fragrances. 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: My Stay at Paris Hyatt Madeleine


When you think of boutique hotels you may not think of Hyatt. But, that all needs to change when you consider the Hyatt Paris Madeleine. It truly is a boutique hotel in Paris. The hotel is located in the very popular Madeleine area of Paris and is the oldest hotel in the city. The hotel’s small size enhances its boutique feel and allows guests to embrace their own Paris while staying. It’s not touristy, which I loved. It’s close to two of my favorite spots in the area – Maille Mustard and Bread and Roses restaurant.

The hotel has only 86 rooms which equal luxury and elegance. I’m still dreaming about the Christian Tortu candle that scents the hotel. It was an unmistakeable scent and made the hotel feel more personal. If staying fit on the road is your thing the hotel has a fitness center, but I suggest embracing all the walking and and parks to job. Paris has quite a few yoga studios of all disciplines so you can get your practice on the road.

La Chinoiserie Lounge is the perfect place for lunch and tea. The photo above is the dome above the lounge and is modeled after the Eiffel Tower. Trust me, this is a gorgeous place to sit and relax before embracing the busyness of Paris. I love my coffee, but an afternoon tea was the perfect place to regroup after a long flight.

Another perk of the hotel is free Wi-fi. Yes, free. It seems that so many hotels still charge for this useful tool that keeps us all connected so it was nice to be in a hotel where it’s free. How else could I tweet, Instagram or update my Facebook status without it? It’s the little things.

My stay at the Hyatt Paris Madeleine was great. I look forward to returning to the hotel as soon as possible. All I need is a last minute flight deal and I’m there or for the next Paris Beauty Tour. Have you signed up to be on the 2015 Paris Beauty Tour email list yet? What are you waiting on?

Hyatt Paris Madeleine
24 Blvd. Malsherbes
Paris, France 75008
Metro: Saint-Augustin

{Presidential Suite entrance}


{A room with a view.}


{The sitting area in the Presidential Suite.}


{A perfect place to slumber.}


{The Eiffel Tower in all her glory from the Presidential Suite.}


{Can we discuss this bathroom situation please?}
{How amazing is this tub?}
{I’m a bath girl and it fulfilled all my bubble bath dreams.}


{The view from the Presidential Suite at the hotel. Stunning.}


{The views are amazing.}


{The architecture in Paris is crazy. Everywhere you turn something is beautiful}
{Saint-Augustin Church}


{The view of Sacré Coeur from the Presidential Suite roof.}
{Let’s embrace this view for a minute.}


{My room at the hotel. Gorgeous!}


{Another beautiful bathroom situation.}
{Yes, bathrooms are my “thing” when traveling.}


{The view from my room. Excuse me, I’m in France!}


{With the lovely Laura from the Hyatt Paris Madeleine}
{Also, I think I look pretty good for someone who has flown 8 hours and been up for 24 since I don’t sleep on planes.}


This post is brought to you in collaboration with Atout France – France Tourism Development Agency and Paris Hyatt Madeleine. 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 – Welcome Cocktail Reception at Paris Hyatt Madeleine

Hyatt Paris 2


Bonjour, darlings! The Paris Beauty Tour was a big hit. I had ladies from across the U.S. as participants and I was able to spend time in one of my favorite cities. The trip was phenomenal. I have traveled for years to Paris to buy French beauty products, candles, and to soak up their lifestyle.

After speaking with numerous beauty experts there is one central common denominator. Due to lots of regulations many of the products I love in Paris can’t be found in the U.S. and if they are they are 4-5 times as expensive. The experience of going to French beauty destinations, reveling in all the je ne sais quoi, and eating delicious meals is what makes life fun. Beauty is a lifestyle and not just a product.

The tour kicked off at Hyatt Paris Madeleine for a welcome cocktail reception. The Hyatt Paris Madeleine is located in the eighth arrondissment and is the oldest Hyatt in Paris. It’s also more boutique than chain. As you walk into the hotel the first thing you will notice, besides great hospitality is the scent. After a few inquiries I discovered it is the official scent of the hotel created by famed Parisian floral designer Christian Tortu. I am happy to say the scent will be returning home with me.

At the reception we were treated to various cheeses, charcuterie, and wines from France. The hotel’s sommelier explained the tasting menu and the courses. As the ladies arrived and got to know each other I realized we were in for a beautiful journey together. It’s the experience of meeting new, smart, fun, and loveable people that can make or break a journey.

The M Bar at Hyatt Paris Madeleine is a place for dinner or a just a drink. It’s cozy and inviting. The space is small and has a certain intimacy that you can’t always get when you have a large bar. The chairs are close for engaging, discover, and enjoyment.

Thank you Hyatt Paris Madeleine for a wonderful welcome experience for the Paris Beauty Tour (Luxe Beauty Journeys).

Hyatt Paris Madeleine
24 Blvd. Malsherbes
Paris, France 75008
Metro: Saint-Augustin

{Welcome honey from the hotel and their signature nail polish.
Yes, the Paris Hyatt Madeleine knows me.}


{The hotel has their own honey bees.
Yes, honey served in the hotel is from the Hyatt Paris honeybees}


{Maddie is the honey masket.}


{The ceiling in the hotel lounge is modeled after the Eiffel Tower.}


{The hotel’s scent was amazing.
It’s a special candle by Christian Tortu for the hotel.}


{The most beautiful flowers in the lobby.}


{Café Crème}


{Cafe M where the cocktail reception was held.}




{A map on the champagne region of France.}


{Map of the Bordeaux region of France.}


{Prep for the reception.}


{Machine to slice meats for the festivities.}




{Place setting at our table.}








{The lovely ladies who participated in the tour.}


{The amazing red I could not stop sipping.}


{My PR rep Xina and Laura from Hyatt Paris Madeleine.}


{The hotel’s sommelier and birthday boy!


 {I had to take a photo with Maddie.}


This post is brought to you in collaboration with Atout France – France Tourism Development Agency and Paris Hyatt Madeleine. 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 Partners – Atout France, My Paris VIP and Rail Europe

Paris Beauty Tour Cover Photo

I created the Paris Beauty Tour because I love Paris. I love sitting a cafe to people, flâneur (walking aimlessly), and the lifestyle component that the French do so well. I like a two-hour lunch where I actually engage with a person, where I can put my phone down and be present with them. I like that the wait staff doesn’t rush me to finish me. I like the craziness of the French pharmacies full of visitors and locals alike making sure they never run out of a product.

I decided to partner with Atout France, My Paris VIP, and Rail Europe for the 2014 Paris Beauty Tour and for future tours. There is only so much I can do from the states and I need a company that understood the vision of the tour and willing to help this Francophile. There were lots of emails and phone calls. Eventually everything came together and the entire experience was phenomenal. Check out the #FranceBeauty page for photos of the tour.

My Paris VIP is a reputable company and one that could make visiting Paris an experience. My Paris VIP was able to arrange shuttle service to and from the airport, as well as, lunch at La Taverna, a Seine Monument Boat Tour, visit to Paradis Latin Cabernet, and a visit to Pharmacie Monge. Pharmacie Monge is one of the oldest and most visited Parisian pharmacies with over 2500 visitors per day. I wanted to visit Pharmacie Monge to beauty shop for products unavailable or not easily accessible in the United States such as Eucerin Shower Oil ph5, Homeoplasmine Ointment, La Roche Posay cosmetics, Caudalie fragrances and candles.

Stay tuned for more French adventures.

Au Revoir,

My Paris VIP

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

La Taverna
22 Rue du Champ de Mars
Paris 75007


Introducing Luxe Beauty Journeys


I have always been enamored with Paris since I studied there in 2001. I was instantly hooked and over ten years later I still can’t get enough. The yearly sojourn to my favorite city to beauty shop has never wavered. I have dragged numerous people along from girlfriends to my husband and when I leave I’m always very sad. It is like I’m leaving home, again. Although my French isn’t as great as it used to be I don’t care. I still want to wake up hearing bonjour, madame.

Two years ago when I decided to start the Paris Beauty Tour, I didn’t expect it to continue. I contemplated how to continue to bring excitement to this type of adventure. I know many people want to experience travel, but there always seems to be excuses – time, money, etc. When I was in my late twenties I decided to spend my money on experiences rather than lots of things. It’s taken sacrifice, hard work, and maintaining the vision.

The tour made me realize in helping create meaningful experiences, which were different, niche, and focused on beauty I was doing my part in helping women discover their highest self – through beauty. I am actually living my purpose – to inspire. Beauty sometimes gets a bad rap for being superficial, but let’s be honest – all of us want to feel beautiful inside and out. If you are petty it is not because of lipstick. This is the essence of what the Paris Beauty Tour is all about.

Beauty is a lifestyle and not just a product!

In the spirit of keeping with life being an adventure I have decided to start Luxe Beauty Journeys. These beauty journeys will tour various cities across the globe to showcase their unique beauty. Although we are all connected in this great big wonderful world, there are still items we can’t get in the U.S. and experiences we can only have by visiting a destination.

I will always have a Paris Beauty Tour every October, but each spring I will take you on beauty journeys from Africa to Asia. I hope you join me on one of these adventures.

To sign up for the SAVE-THE-DATE email for the Paris Beauty Tour 2015, please email: to add your name to the list. To see all of this year’s adventures, follow this link.


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