The Ladybug’s Completely Effortless Holiday Outfits #2

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This is the second effortless outfit that I wore during my holiday in Corsica, in particular during a night trip to Bonifacio, one of the most amazing places that I’ve ever visited.

I took a boat trip there during the day and I decided to go back for a night to visit this beautiful town and have a perfect Corsican dinner at A Cantina Doria.

I wore a red and white Mango striped sweater and Topshop black harem pants.

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As you can see, I didn’t even bring a bag with me: I only had my Marc by Marc Jacobs straw bag for the beach and my Vivienne Westwood navy canvas bag (which was Nike goodie bag for the last We Own the Night in Milan).

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Again, I added my favorite Birkenstock Ibiza, my first buy once I landed in Bastia (I arrived early in the morning so I had to wait until the other shops opened!).  By the way… don’t pay attention to my white creamy feet: they got sunburned during the day and I had to put loads of calendula cream on them!!

I am also wearing again my coral lipstick is from Marc by Marc Jacobs make-up.

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The Ladybug’s Completely Effortless Holiday Outfit #1

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Even while on holiday I have a few rules: no heels (well, almost), no watch, as little of phone as possible and absolutely comfortable outfits.

I need to feel free, to not care about what I wear or do and this last holiday in Corsica represented it perfectly: we walked around in flip-flops, no make-up during the entire day and we also absolutely went for effortless outfits during the night.

I decided to show you two of them.

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The first one I wore during a night out in Porto Vecchio (where I had an Amazing Corsican dinner at A Cantina di l’Orriu). I wore my Acne Studio green jumper (sweater for my American readers) because the nights were still a little chilly and a beautiful multi-colored vintage long skirt (probably from the late ’60s early ’70s) that I bought in a small but lovely shop in Milan in the Motoquartiere (Live in Vintage).

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I added a brown pouch from The Beauty Shop (yes, this is how effortless I am on holiday) and the most controverted shoes of this summer, a pair of Birkenstock (the model is Ibiza) that I bought when landed in Bastia at their shop.  This is my second pair of Birkenstocks and, hate it or love it, they are the BEST shoes for walking a lot (they’ve saved my life more than once!).

The beautiful coral lipstick is Marc by Marc Jacobs make-up.

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The Ladybug Leaves Her Heels to Visit Her Indivisible Land of Oz Again: Love, Corsica

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Last summer, while I needed to decide quickly with my friends where to go on holiday for the mid-August festive days, we decided to try Corsica- because none of us had ever visited. As you may remember we fell in love with it very quickly and we promised to return this year. Well, that promise was kept a couple of weeks ago.

This time we decided to go south-east and to visit the area of Porto Vecchio: I can’t describe the perfection of this wonderful week spent there. Where should I start? Maybe from the most amazing beaches and sea that I’ve seen there: every day was such a great experience and when we thought we couldn’t find a better beach the day after was even more amazing than the day before. I should also mention that the weather was amazing, the beaches were almost desert, the prices were great as we were in low-season and snorkeling was on the daily list. We switched the nightlife for a good run after a whole day at the sea and a handmade dinner, sometimes for a tasty Corsican dinner.

I tried to make a recap of the beautiful beaches that I visited by taking a picture in each of them!

Day One: at Saint Cyprien beach (wearing a vintage Mexican embroidered shirt, Zara sweatpants, Marc by Marc Jacobs straw bag, Roxy flip-flops)

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Day Two: at Santa Ghjulia beach (wearing Topshop Hawaiian shirt, Freddy sweatpants, Roxy flip-flops, Tom Ford sunglasses)

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Day Three: amazing boat tour of Bonifacio and the wonderful natural reserve of the Lavezzi Island (wearing Topshop red dress)

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Day Four: at Palombaggia beach (wearing Kor a Kor shirt, Zara trousers, Roxy flip-flops, Marc by Marc Jacobs straw bag, Tom Ford sunglasses)

The Ladybug Chronicles - Corsica II 06 Day Five: at Rondinara beach (wearing Zara tee and trousers, Roxy flip-flops, Marc by Marc Jacobs straw bag, Tom Ford sunglasses)

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Day Six: at Cala Rossa beach (wearing Zara tee, Topshop trousers, Tom Ford sunglasses)

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Day Seven: at Pinarello beach (wearing Topshop dress and Tom Ford sunglasses again)

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Here’s a tip: if you want to visit the Island and you are a vintage lover: in Porto Vecchio every Sunday morning there are lovely car boot sales and small vintage markets all around the town: ask the locals for more information (and great fun)!

Do you understand now why I love this island so much? Plus, it feels like home and I love speaking French all day… I’m already in need of a swift return! Corsica rules!

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The Ladybug Shares Her “Just-For-Me” ’70s Outfit Shoot

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Don’t ask me why, but I found it hard to release these pictures to the public: they were “mine” and I loved them so much… maybe it was the dress, the hat or just the lovely atmosphere of the day. Some time ago KNAGUI and I walked past this street art and decided to stop for a couple of pictures, even though it was quite windy!

I’m also particularly in love with all the things that I coordinated to put this outfit together: in part because they came from some lovely trips and partly because I just love them for being really good pieces!

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First the dress: it’s a wonderful long silky vintage dress in amazing condition from the late ’70s- I consider it one of my favorite pieces ever. I got in London last year when my friends took me to Retromania, a vintage charity shop that I fell in love with for their wonderful pieces at generally affordable prices.  I love the material, the colors, the shape… everything about this dress makes me feel good!

The hat is a vintage find from Humana Vintage in Milan: it is a bit small, but I liked it so much for the color and the feathers that I decided to buy it anyway (the price was very tempting too!).

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The shoes are Jeffrey Campbell (purchased in Naples some years ago) and the lovely Chanel necklace is a find from a quaint vintage shop in Florence, Boutique Nadine, that I discovered during a beautiful walk along the Arno river, a few years ago.

[Photo Credit: KNAGUI]

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The Ladybug is Deep in Sensuous Løve: A Five-Sense Experience with Løv Organic

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One of my best habits started last winter was dedicating a little hour of what is pure lush for myself: a cup of tea and a cupcake in a bakery. One of the places I enjoy this treat most is the Vintage Bakery in Milan. This is the place where I tasted, for the first time, Løv Organic teas and infusions.

Needless to say, I became immediately addicted. Then, one day, I decided to get more informed about this oasis where I found my weekly dose fantastic tea- which led to big discoveries! First of all: I learned that although the name is Scandinavian, Løv Organic is absolutely French. Løv in Scandinavian means leaf and the label is inspired by this area of the world dominated by nature- where modernity and respect for the environment always go together. Also, Løv Organic gleans from the Nordic culture the penchant for a minimalist design, easily re-usable tins which encourages consumers to adopt an eco-friendly attitude (for example by selling re-fillers for tins and by avoiding plastic in their packaging). Moreover, the tea bags are unbleached and free of staples or glue and made of organic fibers like corn. They allow the tea leaves to unfurl and release all of their aromas naturally. The little bird representing the label is the symbol of nature needing protection and the only form of “fashion” is the use of bright colors for their tins (which, of course, I’ve started collecting as they perfectly fit my kitchen!!).

But the most important of all that is: Løv Organic products are 100% organic!

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As if this wasn’t enough to fall in love with them, Løv Organic offers the most varied and ample choice of blends: from every kind of tea (black, white, green, red) to rooibos to infusions, it is almost impossible not to find your perfect blend. Of course I found more than one and I keep making great finds!

I was also introduced to rooibos thanks to their delicious Rooibos Vanille when I was looking for something to drink at night different than the usual infusions as I found some teas were too strong for me and messed with my beauty sleep. Rooibos is a plant that only grows in South Africa and it has a sweet, fruity flavor. It is considered to be the national drink of South Africa. It is perfect for night time because it is caffeine free and also rich in antioxidants; it also has anti-spasmodic and relaxing qualities. In my rooibos research I started with Løv Organic, I also discovered the green rooibos- which is more rich in antioxidants because it is not fermented.

I tried Vanilla Rooibos first and I fell in love with it because of the marvelous perfume of bourbon vanilla, making it perfect for a late sweet treat. Only recently I tried the new blend Almond Rooibos, a combination of rooibos and deliciously flavored almond. It is caffeine-free and the taste of almond is so intense that reminds me of the perfume of almonds of my native island (Sicily). This is also one of my favorite night drinks.

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Lately, I am pretty much into two new blends. While at the Løv Organic event in Milan, during the Milano Food Week, I tested the amazing Lovely Night: a delicious blend rich in ingredients known for their relaxing properties. It has traditional linden, chamomile and verbena associated with soothing plants from South Africa like honey-bush and rooibos, plus cinnamon and licorice mixed with the delicate aroma of pear. If you suffer with a bit of sleep troubles, I really recommend it.  It not only it helps you fall asleep and do so as a stone, but it is also a sweet treat after dinner, and better on the hips than a cake!

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The second blend I’m pretty much into is the Blueberry Coconut white tea: white tea is the one that undergoes the least amount of treatment which makes it very rich in antioxidants, polyphenols and vitamins. This one is a precious White Downy tea, with a velvety flavor of coconut, blueberry and cornflowers. It is sweet, exotic and sexy at the same time: yes, Løv Organic has some of the sexiest blends that I have ever tested (and you know how many teas I have tried!).

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If you are in Milan you can easily find Løv Organic in town, but now they have a dedicated shop at number 3 on via Victor Hugo. If not, you can easily buy their blends online at www.lov-organic.com

 

The Ladybug’s Roman Holiday pt.2: The New Headquarters of Vintage in Rome

The Ladybug Chronicles - Rome ii 07If my first day in Rome was all about the expo and the monuments, my Sunday was mostly about vintage hunting! So, I decided to ask my vintage expert friends in Rome to tell me which was the best area in town to find some interesting stuff; strange thing they all answered “Rione Monti!”

The Ladybug Chronicles - Rome ii 03I didn’t know this area of Rome, so I decided that it would be great to kill two birds with one stone time: go for vintage shopping and become acquainted with a new area of Rome. The primary suggestion of Rione Monti was its very famous urban market, Mercato Monti, so that’s where I started my visit.

The Ladybug Chronicles - Rome ii 06The Ladybug Chronicles - Rome ii 02It is a small, yet interesting indoor market- essentially based on vintage and handmades… quite hipster I would say, which made it very interesting to me, even if I didn’t find anything to buy (strange, I know… I guess the problem was going before lunch time and I was super hungry!). Still, I had a lovely time talking to the sellers and getting to know them and their beautiful work.

The Ladybug Chronicles - Rome ii 01After lunch I enjoyed myself in this lovely area.  I walked a lot and found a couple interesting shops around via del Boschetto all worth of a mention- like King Size, Pulp and Gocce di Memoria. Such a shame I had to run to catch my train… but at least I saved my credit card for the weekend (even if… I got a pair of Ash ankle boots on Saturday).

The Ladybug Chronicles - Rome ii 04Again, I decided to be comfortable in my Zara sweatpants, Max&Co linen shirt, Nike trainers and Furla British flag canvas bag. I added one of the adored pieces from my turban collection created the beautiful and talented girls of Sine Modus, who make me feel stylish even with dirty hair and a casual sporty look with this handmade beauty designed from a recycled vintage piece. Check them out on their Facebook page, you’ll love them!

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The Ladybug’s Retro Beauty Essentials: My Vintage Affair with Borotalco

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It was March when, using the excuse to tell you about the pop-up store at Stazione Centrale in Milan, I introduced my passion for Borotalco here on the blog.

Italians definitely recognize Borotalco as the “it” product that’s accompanied us through our life (as one of their spots used to remind us!), from birth to adulthood. It is most definitely THE vintage label.

Just imagine: Borotalco, born as an antiseptic dusting talc powder, has been used by every Italian mother not only for the daily care of their babies, but also for their daily beauty routine. The classic dark green box can still be found in almost every Italian home! It’s a great testament to their brand, vision and it’s quality, considering the first Borotalco green bottle (with its recharger) was created in 1878 and its first ad didn’t come about until 1929. And still, it wasn’t until the 1990s when Manetti & Roberts, the company behind the success of the product, propelled the vision of the company and created a complete line of body products: liquid soaps, deodorants, soaps and shower gels. They moved the line further forward in 2003, by adding a new smoothing body lotion and solid soap with an amazing vintage packaging and adorable retro style.

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And now I want to share what I’ve found to be the next history making steps in their product line. I picked up some new Borotalco retro products that are already my vintage summer essentials: the alcohol free, Squeeze deodorant and the Acqua di Borotalco. They are perfect for the summer because they give you an immediate fresh and clean sensation with that unique scent.

The Squeeze deodorant is always in my handbag: when the heat becomes an enemy and you need a secure ally, a quick application provides a blossom of freshness that you can easily re-apply everywhere thanks to its easy-to-use applicator. Moreover, Borotalco brought back its vintage package (they were the first to introduce this deodorant format in Italy) with the classic green, red and golden colors.

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Acqua di Borotalco is the other essential product I drop in my bag every day before going to work in the morning. It is the classic Borotalco scented water that leaves your skin delicately perfumed for a long time. It is perfect to use in the morning while getting ready for a long day at work or just after a shower!

If that isn’t enough Borotalco for you, let me take you over the top with the new collectible vintage scented soaps that leave your skin velvety soft and adorably scented!

As I love their old ads and historical images, I thought you might appreciate me sharing a little gallery of their, in my opinion, loveliest vintage ads and images.

For more information http://www.borotalco.it

Bambini (1947)

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Bambino a gattoni (1934)

Farmacia Storica Alta Ris

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI: Gypsy Gems – An Interview with Davina and the Vagabonds

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI - Davina 03This past Spring, I was in Italy doing vocal clinics and Masterclasses. You know about some of the events The Ladybug and I attended together while I was there. And, as usual, I was in heaven chillin’ with my girl, especially since that trip started with us attending a concert featuring my homie, Raul Midon at La Salumeria della Musica in Milano. To put a marvelous musical bookend on the trip was a surprise date in my detoured route home.

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI - Davina 01I stopped in Minneapolis, Minnesota for business and happened to see online that a band I’d been audibly stalking was playing at a spot called Patrick’s Cabaret.  I immediately called the venue to reserve my seat.

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI - Davina 02Normally, here’s where my post would go into talking about the show and telling you about how amazing this venue (honestly, this place and “its” philosophy of paying and supporting artists is MIND BLOWING) is.  But, I’ve got something better… an interview with the incredible front-woman of Davina and the Vagabonds, Ms. Davina Sowers.

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI - Davina 07Ciao Davina, this moment has been a long time coming!  I can’t believe it’s been over 2 years sine I first heard of your artistry on NPR and now I’ve finally gotten a chance to experience you live… I must say, you were worth the wait!

GRINKIE GIRL PHOTOGRAPHY-Christie Williams02Tell me about this crew of yours, the Vagabonds, how long have you been working as this “outfit?”
The band, itself, was formed nine years ago. We’ve had many wonderful musicians through those years. The line up of Vagabonds I have now are:
Dan Eikmeier: Trumpet and Vocals
Ben Link: Trombone and Vocals
Connor McRae: Drums and Vocals
Andrew Burns: Upright Bass and Sousaphone

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI - Davina 08Your sound is quite vintage, not just stylistically, but also sonically.  Why this direction?
It was never a plan. I think it was just my and The Vagabonds love for specific eras. We have what we love in our hearts and it plays out on stage and [through our] recordings.

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI - Davina 16But the direction isn’t pure vintage, I’d say you at times mix vintage with more modern themes and musical landscapes. Many times I picked up deep grooves in your presentation and Pocket (which was the song that introduced me to you and was later used on the blog) that night was dressed around a super hip-hop drum approach. Do you often cross-pollinate your music?
I write in many different genres. Many different feels. I have a vast love for all music. I am sucker for a good solid pop/r&B/hip-hop feel, but I’m also a sucker for a swaying swing. A lot  of my music is based upon what I’m listening to that week, that day… etc. I’m a sponge and try to emulate where my ear is that day.

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI - Davina 13OK, so that gives me a sense of some of some of your musical influences, but what about your influences in fashion and art?
My ultimate influence in everything is “Timelessness.”  I love the touch of a good fabric. I love the sound of good music.
There is a certain freedom in ability to be who you are. I have always been a collector of fashion past. My days as a teenager where spent sorting through my local thrift stores, finding pieces that called my name.  I was the girl people laughed at for wearing vintage bowling shoes and singing old traditional songs in front of my lunch period people. I would never want to change that. It’s just who I am, and who I’ve always been.

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI - Davina 10You are equally amazing on keys and with your vocals: you’re both gritty and a songbird, but your ability to convey a song is what struck me most.  All night you killed vocally, but there was a song, the Etta James record, that vocally was not as “beautiful” as the rest of the set, but you effin ripped my heart out with your convincing performance.  Can you tell me about what that song means to you and where you go when you sing it… if I’m not prying too much?
I’ve been through heartache, you’ve been through heartache, your neighbor, your mother, your father… They have all been through heartache. They deal with it or not deal with it in many ways. I sing about it. It’s the only way to make a layer of my heartache melt away. I hope my honest, gut wrenching storytelling through music helps those who can not deal or haven’t dealt with those things.
I’m a dark sensitive soul at times due to that. That is my only way to sort through the muck. Sing about it honestly and truthfully.

GRINKIE GIRL PHOTOGRAPHY-Christie Williams04I read that you’re from my home state of Pennsylvania.  Tell me about growing up there and what brought you to Minneapolis and were there any stops along the way?
Altoona, PA…[sigh]…, they were not ready for me. I struggled a lot growing up there. Left when I was 15 and never looked back. I could write a novel about what I’ve seen, done, and experienced. Maybe in another interview with you. All-in-all, Minneapolis is where I landed and ended my gypsy living. I travel and experience through the band now, and I call MPLS my home… for time being.

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI - Davina 11What’s next for you and the crew?
Our New Album “Sunshine” will release July 15th!  Europe for the next two months, Monterey Jazz Festival in September. Touring. Writing. Spreading the Vagabond word to as many people as we can.

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI - Davina 12Last thing, the Ladybug would kill me if I didn’t ask these two important TLC questions: 1st, what and where are your favorite vintage or thrift shops?  2nd, what does vintage mean to you?
Vintage means a energy from a  past life. Every vintage dress, hat, piece of jewelry, piece of furniture, book, etc… has a past story and I want to continue to keep that story going. It’s amazing how a lot of these pieces have held on so well. The idea of how they were made so differently than [the way] we make them now. This is just one of the so many reasons why I love my treasures from the past.

lavenir_davina_garrettbornphotography-49-1I have spots in different cities for clothes when I travel. I love this shop called Little Gems and I also cruise the internet. I buy TONS of jewelry and little antique nick-knacks online. I get too nervous buying clothes on the internet… I haven’t had much luck with sizes.

lavenir_davina_garrettbornphotography-22I have tried to quash some of my clothing purchases as of late. I am busting at the seems storage and body wise [she says with candor and a nubile smile]. When I lose some weight in both departments,  I will be packing less just to shop more on my journeys.

Thanks so much for your time and all the best with the next steps you and the band take!

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI - Davina 05To learn more about Davina and the Vagabonds, you can visit their site, http://www.DavinaAndTheVagabonds.com, where you can listen, buy and connect.

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[photo credits: Christie Williams, Garrett Born, Davina & KNAGUI]

The Ladybug’s Roman Holiday, pt. 1: When in Rome… Go to the Frida Kahlo Expo

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I think that I have already expressed my love for Frida Kahlo here on the blog or somewhere else, as she is most definitely one of my favorite artists ever, my fashion icon (a real one!) and an inspirational woman at the same time.

This is why, when I saw that Rome was going to celebrate her at the Scuderie del Quirinale with an expo completely dedicated to her, I started organizing my weekend trip to Rome… specifically for this event. And believe me, it was a great idea! Not only because it was a great weekend and I enjoyed Rome immensely, but also because the expo itself was incredibly rich and moving.

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I decided to go for a guided tour as I know that Frida’s work is full of symbols and allegories and that her real life was particularly related to her work: I wanted to know more about her and this time not only through movies and books but absorb her life directly through her work.  I can only tell you that I was near tears at the end of the guided tour. I decided to go back and take a second tour by myself stopping again at those paintings, drawings and especially photographs representing her. I think that if I lived in Rome I would have gone back and see it again (it is up until the 9th of August, btw).

I just couldn’t stop drinking and eating it all, when I emerged from the expo I felt that I wanted to see and know more and that two floors of her work were simply not enough!

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Still, I enjoyed the rest of the day out and about in this amazing city eating my favorite Roman food and enjoying it all. I also took some pictures around, especially at the Fontana di Trevi.

I wore a completely casual outfit as I knew that I had to walk a lot and I wanted to be comfortable all day:

I wore a Topshop denim shirt, Zara sweatpants, Nike trainers… but I tried to add some sparkle with my new Bizzaria earcuff (you can buy it here) and a Furla canvas bag from an old collection that I forgot I had, but was happy to find in my wardrobe again!

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The Ladybug’s Brow Lift @ Benefit Cosmetics Brow Bar in Sephora: Go Big or Go Home!

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It is time for me to confess one of my latest obsessions to you: brows.

Cara (Delavigne) gave us access to this new world which became a trend. And grant it, I’m not the one who goes for trends, but I do appreciate new suggestions in fashion and beauty. And with my personal stake in trying to perfect my brow, I answered the call of the trend that wanted us all with large, long, hairy patches above our eyes to come into the land of perfectly shaped brows.

Being the most classic attribute of myself, I started studying the trend- becoming obsessed by focusing my attention on people’s eyebrows on tv, in films and magazines, but also on the subway.  I must have come across like a fetishist every time I said to someone: “Wow, you have great brows” or “You changed something… is that your brows?”

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What I realized through my research of this obsession is that a well-shaped and manicured brow can completely change your look, your face and your expression…I was intrigued.

One day my colleague Lili (the one that you saw in the ’70s outfit post) came back to the office after her lunch with a totally different face: I was noticing for the first time her eyebrows. I timidly asked where she was at lunch and she said that she ate a quick sandwich to make time for her to get her brows done at Sephora… Bingo! It was all about brows again! But… Sephora?? I thought it was just a perfume and makeup shop…

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Here then began my awareness of Benefit Cosmetics’ Brow Bar. Lily introduced me to Benefit Cosmetics last year and I became totally addicted to most of their products. Not only as a vintage lover (because I die for the retro packaging), but I am really addicted to some of the products inside the packages… and when I say some, I mean all those that I tried. The crazy thing about Benefit is that I didn’t even know what most of the products are for, but once their beauty consultant showcases them I realize that I can’t do my makeup without them! I know, I am a woman!!

And here’s another thing: their beauty consultants are TOP NOTCH! They are all very knowledgeable on the products. Honestly, I gotten some of the best beauty tips (on products and in general) from them and they are always extremely nice and helpful.

Concetta, the Benefit Beauty consultant at Sephora in Piazza Gae Aulenti in Milan is for sure my favorite… and I am not the only one as most of my colleagues adore her as well. Needless to say, I tried my Brow Bar beauty experience with her last month for the first time and now… she is the only one allowed to put the hands on these eyebrows!  I used to have my brows waxed quite thin, but when I went in for my first consultation she asked me to come back after one month of growth.  I wasn’t excited about having to let myself go barbarian. I arrived at my appointment looking like a little monkey, but she made quick work on taming my beasts. My friend and I were AMAZED of her beautifying powers.  Not only has Concetta always been able to tempt us (The Untemptables) to try new Benefit products (which we always buy!) AND give us the greatest tips on Benefit products AND teach us how to use them at their best… She’s also proven to be a Eyebrow Master!  And now, based on the great success of our new brows, we created a “brow group” at work that even includes our boss!

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All in all let me say that the Benefit Brow Bar experience has completely changed my makeup routine; not only as something that’s come to focus on my brows, but I now see how these little things have changed my face and facial expression. Because of my brows, my eyes look bigger and brighter, my cheeks more expressive and my hairstyle looks even more “refined rocker”.  I have the feeling that my new brows add a certain “je sais pas quoi” to my style, especially with red lips.

These are the new products that I can’t go anywhere without:

Brow Zings,  the brow kit including wax, powder, brushes and tweezers  for clean, smooth and perfect brows

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Gimme Brows,  a brush-on fiber gel that creates fuller-looking brows

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So I say: try it! It may change your life… or at least just your makeup routine; but for sure it won’t be a meaningless experience!