Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

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.


Travel Diary: L’Auberge Del Mar, by Destination Hotels

Cover Photo

L’Auberge Del Mar, by Destination Hotels is a jewel in the Southern California crown. L’Auberge is located near San Diego and I like to call it a “cottage” near the ocean. The oceanside luxury property with ocean views is small, but mighty. The hotel has only 120 deluxe rooms and staying at the property feels as if you are in another place.

The hotel is situated in a lush area full of nature, shopping, restaurants, and not far from world class golf if that’s your thing. Triathlons originated in the area. L’Auberge is popular with locals and visitors. The hotel was a destination for old Hollywood and I can see why. It’s only two hours from Los Angeles and when you arrive you get the feeling that you have escaped L.A.

The hotel can be considered boutique due to it’s size. The rooms are charming and relaxing. I like a clean hotel room that is perfect for relaxing which you want to do if you are staying near the beach. The decor is not the kitschy beach theme, but elegant beach furnishings. I spent the majority of the time in my room, balcony door open, listening to the waves and reading. The hotel has a 5,000 square foot spa with 10 treatment rooms and numerous treatments. I visited the spa and the boutique. After a day of driving, it was a great way to start my stay.

The hotel’s size doesn’t compromise the dining options. Waterfall Terrace Restaurant in set outside and is the perfect place to dine with an ocean view. Bleu and Living Room Bar are relaxed and great for a libation to catch up with friends. The Living Room Bar is very popular and a feature live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Be prepared for a crowd. This bar is very popular with visitors and with locals.

KITCHEN 1540 is the L’Auberge’s signature restaurant that is innovative, elegant, and one of the best places to dine in the area. The menu reflects local and seasonal ingredients. I like to pair my meals with wine and I always take my waiter’s opinions. Todd was knowledgable about all the dishes I ordered and paired the wine accordingly. I normally am not a fan of cuttlefish. I find it flavorless, but the chef’s preparation had me rethinking my dislike.

Hopefully when I return to L’Auberge next year, I will blown away again – by the everything the hotel and city has to offer. I dream of a cottage by the ocean and L’Auberge brings my dreams to life.




{How gorgeous is my room? Dreamy!}




 {The surfboard beckons me to the spa}



{A stunning place to relax before spa treatments}


{Products help take the spa experience home}




{My jewelry cabinet added a new member}


 {Feasting Pretty!}



{Only Kitchen 1540 could make me love cuttlefish.}


{I want to go back to L’Auberge just for this black cod dish.}


{I could eat these Brussels sprouts every day}


{The simplest desserts are sometimes the best.}


This post is brought to you in collaboration with Terrenea Resort, by Destination Hotels. 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. 

Travel Diary: Terranea Resort, by Destination Hotels ~ Day 2

Terranea Resort - Front Drive

 My second day at Terranea Resort, by Destination Hotels & Resorts started with a hazy view of the Pacific, but a restful Julia. I dragged my travel yoga mat to my balcony and worked on a few sun salutations to awaken my body after such a great sleep. As I looked out on the hazy view of the Pacific I knew I not only needed to get my OM-on, but this would be a perfect time to walk the trails at Terranea. The air was crisp and I worked up a quick sweat as I toured the property and took in all the beautiful scenery. It’s amazing that my allergies did not give me any hell in California. It must be a So Cal thing I must say.

After my morning breakfast it was time to head to the spa for my treatment. The spa boasts a robust boutique with brands such as Gypsy, Naked Undies, Lululemon, Deborah Lippman, Stella 9, and Michael Starts to name a few. I quickly fell in love and found myself jealous of the buyer for the spa boutique and Marea the main store on the property. I met with Courtney and told her she has one of the best jobs on the planet.

The spa has twenty-five treatment rooms and three VIP suites (earth, water, fire). I had a signature 60 minute massage and Angela my therapist worked every single travel knot out of my body.

After my spa treatment I headed to Nelson’s for lunch before heading to spend time at the pool and work. Dinner was at the amazing mar’sel. Mar’sel is Terranea’s signature restaurant with an ocean view. As I looked out on the view it was hard to believe I was in Southern California. It looks just like the Amalfi Coast in Italy. The restaurant didn’t disappoint on the food either. I still remember how great the duck confit dish had clapping my hands with every bite. Dinner at mar’sel was a great way to end my stay at Terranea and prepare for a visit to my next stop – L’Auberge del Mar near San Diego.




{Spin in front of the Pacific Ocean.}


{It’s the little things that Terranea understands.}


 {Post yoga/walk breakfast and journal time.}




{Spa time!}


 {I could shop here everyday.}


{Bling, bling.}


{Let’s have a seat shall we?}


{Beauty. All day every day!}





 {Champagne to toast my last night at Terranea with dinner at mar’sel.}



{Sunset Sour cocktail. I really need this recipe.}



{The best english muffins I have ever tasted.}



{Bruschetta with crab.}


{Slow Braised Pork Cheek.}


{Duck confit paired with Mac Murray’s 2011 Pinot Noir.}


{You can keep your chocolate, I will take a cheese plate any day for dessert. A perfect finish.}



This post is brought to you in collaboration with Terrenea Resort, by Destination Hotels. 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. 

Wheels Down: GM Buick Enclave, Open Road, and Deep Creek Maryland

I had never heard of Deep Creek until I met my husband. He and a bunch of his friends take a yearly trek to this 3 hour mountain and lake area every year. Basically it’s a relaxing weekend, a huge log cabin mini mansion where there is tons of laughter, good foods, old school board games, and fun.

The weekend usually starts off meeting at the home of a friend and then we all head out. Convoy style. This year we are armed and equipped in the new Buick Enclave. I usually don’t drive. I’m always catching up on emails or trying to read my never ending piles of magazines that I normally bring for the weekend. This year it’s going to be different.

I enjoyed the Enclave’s luxury features like playing my favorite Pandora station at the moment Rodrigo y Giberto, listening to XM radio or one of the many podcasts on my station. I’m happy that my dear friend Renee flew in from Houston and joined me on the trip. I didn’t mind giving le husband a break in the driving.

Queue Rascal Flatts – “Life is a highway and I want to ride it all night long.”

This post is brought to you in collaboration with GM and their District Drive program. 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.

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{So much space}

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{A little Shalamar never hurt}

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{My fave XM Channel – Groove}

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{3 people, 3 nights, and tons of food and libations}

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{On the road with my girl Renee}

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{Pit stop to enjoy the sunshine and wildflowers of Maryland}

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{Maryland Highway Wildflower Guide}

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{Weekend morning priorities: yoga then post-yoga reading about yoga}

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{Rosé on the deck}

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{Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. I can’t wait to return. See you soon.}

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