The Ladybug Can’t Believe She’s Keeping Up with the Kardashian: Contouring Makeup Tips

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Love her or hate her, we must say that every new trend that comes from Kim Kardashian makes a lot of noise on the web. I usually don’t give much attention to her new trends, which seem to come daily, but I couldn’t help doing some research on her beauty trend about contouring. Well, I found out she didn’t invent anything new with her make up, but she has unveiled one of the best kept beauty secrets among celebrities for years!

When I started my own research online I found tons of tutorials and articles on how to contour based on your face shape and colors… what products to use and which pencils. There was a lot of information about how to make it natural for a daily use or dramatic for a night out. I was really surprised, and believed I might not (based on a couple trys) be able to do something similar on my own, until I decided to try at a Marc by Marc Jacobs make-up event at Sephora in Milan. I was pretty skeptical at the beginning and I asked a lot of questions, but then I started to train myself and now I am quite addicted to it and I can share with you what I learned so far.

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Face shape contouring guide

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First of all, I learned that contouring isn’t an easy job: I made many mistakes and tries before getting a good result. So if you are a starter, like me, use a small quantity of products. I prefer powder products to creamy ones- which is better to use after some time and exercise. Sephora and Marc Jacobs have specific pencils for contouring, so I suggest to use one of those.

Also, I prefer a more natural effect instead of a dramatic contouring, so forget the Kim Kardashian effect and try to get a natural contouring that takes less time to master and do than you think.

If you go online you can find tons of tutorials based on your face. But here I’ve tried to put together some pictures that I found on the web to make it easier for you to understand how it works and how to obtain the correct “game” of light on your face to highlight your beauty angles… and maybe correct some little things that we don’t like.

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I also suggest not to use products containing glitter or with pearl effects as they will ruin the natural effect. I picked up the Marc by Marc Jacobs contouring palette Mirage Filter. My Sicilian range of color depending on the season is vast so the universal color palette works great for me.  But if you have darker skin, you can also use the Mac contouring kit or the creamy single contouring products coming in different colors based on your skin tone (I’ve tried them too, but I think that I need more practice before!). It is very important to find the right color for your skin, so don’t be afraid to ask to a beauty consultant in your beauty store to find the right color for your skin tone. Nothing is worse than wearing a mask when it’s not Halloween, right?

After fixing the foundation with some powder, I apply, in the areas indicated in the pictures for oblong faces like mine, the contouring powders before applying some blush: it takes just a few minutes and it gives you a completely different effect that keeps your everyday makeup natural and fresh.

Let me know if you tried it and if it became or it is part of your beauty routine. Tell me how you feel about it; I’m curious to hear your comments!

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Run Ladybug, Run! Nike We Run Milano and How to Cross Your Goal Lines

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The first Friday of June was a first for me and I was really proud and excited about this: my first Nike Run which means my first 10K run.

When I arrived in Milan and heard about this run I really felt that I wanted to participate in it, but I also knew that it was nearly impossible simply because I had never even tried to run 10K before. Even if I’d been a little athletic and even run before, I was really bad at running and 10K (in my mind) was just too much! Also I was pretty much convinced that running was boring and I couldn’t even bare the idea of doing it for about an hour!

But here comes the first reason why I love running: it doesn’t matter how trained you are and if you’ve never run in your life, you can become a runner if you really want and train for it. It happened for me, so I guess it can happen for anyone! I cannot train as much as I want, but twice a week is enough to get good results in a relatively short time. People have been telling me this for a long time, but I didn’t believe it until I decided to give it a try: in a few months I managed to run 5K. And even if I wasn’t proud of my pace, with time, motivation and effort I reached my goal!

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Last year I missed the run because I wasn’t in town, but this year I managed to be there with my crew and participated in this great event: the Nike We Run is not only about running… indeed, there are so many things to do after the run! And since it’s only for women, you’ll find a lot of glamor. Starting with the beautiful goodie bag (this year designed by Paula Cademartori) and the lovely things inside of it (Kiko blush and nail polish for example!). It started (and ended) in one of the most glamorous areas of Milan (Piazza Gae Aulenti) and it crossed the whole city center including Duomo, via Montenapoleone, San Babila and believe me it was a nice show to see all these women (it seems around 10.000) dressed with orange fluo shirts, having a lot of fun!

Because (and this is reason two of why I love it) running isn’t boring at all: it helps building new friendships. You make new friends, meet people with the same passion (and believe me there are a lot!), and if you find the right place to train you can discover new things in your own city or wherever you decide to have a run.

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I run with some friends. One of whom I trained and continue training with, and it is incredible how this passion got us addicted. But the great thing is that running makes you addicted to success, to set new goals and to be able to reach them and then to set new ones: it is a way of thinking and of living life that becomes your thought and your action. I’ve come to find myself more positive, strong, willing to accept challenges and more able to reach my goals, which I do and now I take time to celebrate them!

We Run Milano was my own personal celebration of all the things that I achieved this year regarding my health and fitness routine, and I couldn’t celebrate it any better! It was also the occasion to set new goals with the certainty that I will reach them, again.

This is indeed the greatest reason why I love running: it helps you believe in yourself and in your capabilities. It makes you stronger because it makes you understand that there is no limit to what you want to be except for the limitations that we create ourselves. So girls, be proud, be you, be whatever you want to be and run for it!

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The Ladybug devours the Magic of Armani | Silos

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The 3rd of May, two days after the opening of the EXPO 2015 in Milan, another very important expo was inaugurated: Giorgio Armani decided to celebrate 40 years of his wonderful career by offering to Milan what the New York Times defined as “the place to be” – the Armani | Silos.

This museum, located in the Tortona area, celebrates the history of “King Giorgio” by offering 4500 square meters, consisting of four floors, of amazing creations from the ’80s to now in a surreal yet enveloping atmosphere.

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The mayor of Milan defined it as a gift Armani offered to the town in order to demonstrate his love for the city, and believe me it really is!

The building is an old silo used for storing food and Armani decided to leave the name as it represents the way for fashion to be “nutrient” for the soul. The architecture is spacious and the game of lights are absolutely amazing. Not to mention the music: it’s a perfect accompaniment for the visitors.

The selection of the creations exposed doesn’t have a chronological order, but it tells the story and the most representative pieces of the Italian designer. Every floor represents a leitmotif that inspired or keeps inspiring Armani’s art work.

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The ground floor is dedicated to men and women daywear- with a huge selection of men and women suits, especially from his latest collections, coats and day dresses with a huge prevalence of grey and camel tones.

But the more you climb the floors, the more you will be amazed and in awe.

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First floor, I guess my favorite one: it’s completely dedicated to Armani’s exoticism: it collects all his pieces inspired by faraway lands, from India to Japan, Northern Africa, to Spain and the Far East. It is a blossoming of flowers, colors, embroideries, sequins and sparkling pieces… I spent most of my time there! In the middle of the floor there were also a collection of clutches, shoes, jewelry and accessories that will make you fight the simple desire of touching them and try them on!

The second floor is dedicated to Chromatism: the colors are darker. Stripes appear on night gowns, cocktail dresses and jackets and Armani’s use of black is surprising and thrilling. Even in the dark the embroideries sparkle and the cuts are amazing. A lot of black and white, red, electric blue, navy blue and many more “vintage” pieces coming from the ’80s!

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When you reach the last floor, you can really say that you have seen the light! Light is, indeed, the inspirational theme for the last floor. There, you can be overcome by the sparkling of wonderful embroidered gowns and two pieces- from gold to silver. It is a jubilation of pure ecstasy and fashion perfection!

The floor also hosts a video room and a digital archive with more than a thousand outfits selected by category and collections.  It features more than two thousand pieces and accessories, sketches, backstage and catwalk videos, photographs from the advertising campaigns.

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On the ground floor you can also find a gift shop, a cafeteria and the installation “Stars,” a red carpet leading to a big screen with images of all the celebrities wearing Armani.

As for me, I wore Imperial red pleated shirt, Amelia Verona trousers and Zara flats with a vintage touch: round sunglasses by Oggetti Smarriti, red quilted bag by Frendo Vintage and headband by Traffic People London.

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The Ladybug Fades to White…

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Sometimes a good outfit post is what you need to make your day brighter, especially if you have an amazing new white shirt that you want to wear almost every day because you love it so much!

A few months ago I told you about my visit to the White Trade Show to meet the talented designer Indra Kaffemanaite, owner of the emerging brand Balossa. I also told you that I fell in love with her collection of white shirts, with the aerial dimension and details of her pieces and how she made me change my point of view on white shirts- moving from a perfect foundation for a vintage statement piece to becoming a real statement piece in itself.

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And you may remember that I also told you I was going to own one; so here it is, my first love! This one caught my eye immediately because of the amazing asymmetry (pairing with my new haircut asymmetry!) and of the beautiful work on the large sleeve. I wore it in a special corner of Milan, Piazza Sant’Alessandro.  It’s one of my favorite spots… the city seems so faraway even if it’s just around the corner. It’s also where time seems to have stopped for a while, and you can breathe a little vintage in the Milanese atmosphere.

In this outfit I decided to let the shirt be the main character: I paired it with black skinny jeans from Acne Studios and black décolleté by 8. More details: Celine black sunglasses, Coccinelle camel bag and Alcozer & J ring.

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The Ladybug Makes Good Excuses: Besciamella at Sofia Vintage

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In my last post I talked about my excuses to go to Rome, but excuses to travel to Rome aren’t the only excuses that I make.

Recently I made my usual excuse to visit Roberta at her lovely renovated Sofia Vintage shop in Como, but this time I added a tasty event hosted by Besciamella Eventi on how to decorate fashionable cookies! As I am not good at anything related to cooking and baking, you may easily understand that this excuse was a bit of a stretch!

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Still I enjoyed watching the lovely ladies making colorful decorations on shoe and dress shaped cookies, sipping champagne and eating strawberries while meeting new and old friends on a sunny Spring day in Como!

Apparently, anything can happen in a vintage shop, especially when it looks like a home!

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And here comes my true excuse: it was also the occasion to have a look at the new summer collection, along with the new pieces from Madame Ilary… plus the new amazing swimwear from Frida Querida!

For the occasion I decided to create a vintage inspired outfit using only one vintage piece, this beautiful ’40s handbag from Vintage Galerija in Ljubljana. I wore a striped t-shirt and culottes from Dixie, Camper flats and a handmade striped turban from Madame Ilary.

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The Ladybug’s Magically Delicious Roman Holiday

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There is always a good excuse for a Roman weekend: this time it was visiting the Matisse’s Arabesque exhibit at the Scuderie del Quirinale with my lovely Roman BFF!

For once, I left my usual hunt of vintage shops and decided to get completely absorbed into Roman life: from delicious food, to running (and spinning) and to wonderful night walk just enjoying the air, aroma and the great company!

I truly love Milan and sometimes I feel like I don’t want to be elsewhere other than there (well, not all the time, even if I have to admit my urge of being always “somewhere else” has calmed!) but leaving it for a weekend is also refreshing- especially when you know that you’ll return!

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We started the weekend with a great run in Ostia, in the beautiful pine grove along the sea (two things that I often miss in Milan, a pine grove and the sea!). Later we headed to the amazing Matisse’s exhibit and then enjoyed a good walk in great company of new and old friends: vino and the best “cacio e pepe” pasta ever in the Garbatella neighborhood (Il ristoro degli angeli is one of the restaurants that you must absolutely try if you are visiting the eternal city!). By the way, if you’re looking for a perfect retro inspired and absolutely vintage accomodation when in Rome, I suggest you to consider the Hotel Oceania. Its location is perfect! And the decor (from the original vintage floor and the amazing antique pieces) makes you dream in black and white while you live in color!

Sunday was a day for sport again, spinning this time (good ol’ spinning!) before the greatest lunch chez one by the best chef in Rome: my friend’s lovely mum! With the sand in the hourglass of my trip completely empty, I left Rome with the usual promise of going back again soon!

At the Matisse exhibit I wore a Marks and Spencer white shirt with a thrifted skirt from Epiphany Vintage in Frankfurt, H&M leather jacket, Tosca Blu ankle boots, Miu Miu handbag and a Rokit Vintage London turban.

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The Ladybug Makes Another Physiogel Life Change: Let’s Talk About Hydration!

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Last week, I had the chance to attend the second event of “I Skin Good” organized by Physiogel at Open bookstore in Milan. Dermatologist, Adele Sparavigna taught us many new things about skincare and Life Coach, Valentina Giuffré engaged us in interesting visualizing exercises to enhance our self-confidence.

It was a very interesting event where, again, I learned a lot of things about beauty and healthcare that I want to share with you. This time the subject of the event was hydration, but what do we really know about it? Very little, apparently. Water is, for sure, our natural cream. But, if we think of the water coming from our bathroom sink we must think twice: our water is very calcareous (especially in big towns like Milan) and it seems that after washing our body and face with this water our skin needs more than 90 minutes to get back to its natural state. Moreover, sensitive skin may overreact to water. Scary, huh?

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How then, shall we cleanse our skin? How can we remove dead cells and makeup? First of all, we should avoid tap water, especially when hot, and harsh cleansers. We can use still or sparkling water instead… we might opt for cleansers that don’t need rinsing. It is an important habit not to rub our face with towels but to pat our faces with delicate towels instead. It’s good to dilute cleansing products before using them. Many products, because of their ingredients, may be better for one season than another. It is also important to use the right products, depending on the different seasons, as the needs of our skin change completely from summer to winter. In summer, particularly due to UV rays and sweat, it is very important to protect skin with sunscreen and always hydrate skin before exposure to the sun. After being in the sun, it is important to use soothing and freshening products to remove residual sweat and products. Don’t forget that seawater is not good for our skin, so make sure to take a shower after taking a dip in the sea!

If you have sensitive skin, it is beneficial to use delicate products for your face that don’t require rinsing. Exchange oils or delicate cleansers for generic body wash. Always keep your skin away from products containing perfumes, alcohol and preservatives. If you have combination skin, you should avoid harsh cleansers, that may cause a rebound effect. You may prefer an astringent cleanser (with lukewarm water), even better if used as a gel or solid (like soaps).

During the week, I had the chance to try three new products by Physiogel for my own skin care. I must confess that I am a fan of scented creams and lotions, but I am not always happy with the results.

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First of all, I tried the daily Nutri-Hydrating shower cream for dry and sensitive skin that I find perfect after running and fitness because it helps to delicately remove the sweat from skin without drying your skin (after a workout, do you feel like your skin is stretching like it does after being in the sun and sea in summer?). It is very soft and creamy and it leaves your skin soft and velvety.

After the shower I tried the daily Nutri-Hydtrating lotion: this is amazing against dry skin (I know someone who always complains about his dry skin!) as it nourishes and hydrates at the same time. I love it, especially, on my legs and belly because it has a sort of toning effect and makes the skin way more elastic and soft.

But the product that I loved most is the daily Nutri-Hydrating washing product for body and hair: I use it as a first wash for my hair (then use my usual shampoo for the second wash) and as a body cleanser. This has changed my hair dramatically, making it softer and reducing my frequent problems with scalp irritation. It is also a great body cleanser, perfect for cleansing dry and sensitive skin (perfect in summer or after the gym) as it leaves the skin very smooth and soft.

None of these products contain preservatives, perfumes or colorants and they can be used on babies’ skin.

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think? Let me know your experience and share your comments!

At the event I wore: Zara striped shirt, Acne Studios black jeans, Marc by Marc Jacobs thrifted flats.

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The Ladybug Goes to EXPOsed: Milan Through the Eyes of Its Artists

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A few weeks ago my friend Ilaria invited me to the opening of a very special photography exhibition. She didn’t say a lot because she wanted for it to be a surprise; I only knew the day, the time and the place (La Fabbrica del Vapore, one of my favorite spots in Milan).

When we met there, she told me that she was part of the exhibit because she was photographed and exposed as one of the artists chosen to represent Milan and the city’s artsy residents.

The idea of the talented photographer, Marina Spironetti, was to offer visitors a new view of Milan through portraits of 184 artists living in Milan. The artists were photographed in their favorite spot or the places that best represented them or their art. Actors, dancers, designers, writers, musicians and my lovely costumer, Ilaria told us a story about their Milan through portraits representing the town in a new and unconventional way. Marina took pictures for more than a year, over 2000 shots, and let me tell you that the photographs are amazing.

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I also loved the way the photographs were displayed (the spot was perfect and so was the lighting), not to mention the sonic backdrop that gave score to the exhibit. The sound sculpture, curated by the sound designer Luca De Marinis, uses the voices of the photographed artists to accompany the visitors during the exploration of the exhibit.

Of course, I couldn’t avoid taking a picture of Ilaria’s photograph (she chose her beautiful apartment and studio in Milan with a lot of vintage pieces, antiques and ethnic homeware), and of course I couldn’t help wearing one of her creations: a beautiful handmade shantung turban with vintage button.

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Among the many photographs that I liked, there is also this one (maybe one of my favorites) of the actress Linda Caridi at the Central Station in Milan.

Along with my turban, I also wore a leather jacket by H&M, striped Zara shirt, Acne Studios black jeans, thrifted Marc by Marc Jacobs pointy flats, and a Miu Miu handbag.

You have time to visit the exhibit, on display until the 23rd of May.  So… if you are around for the EXPO, you can experience a different, artsy view of Milan too!

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The Ladybug is Proud to Announce the Madame Ilary for Sofia Vintage Collaboration!

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What happens when two women that you love, admire and support (both in life and work) combine their amazingness? Well; in my opinion, an awesome result which I’ll prove in this post!

So let’s start from the beginning: Ilaria, founder of Madame Ilary, is my beautiful friend that I met last year during a theatre piece for which she was making costumes (yes, she is a talented costume designer!). We immediately felt the connection and she asked me if I was interested in seeing some of her handmade headpieces (turbans in particular). I accepted immediately, and a few weeks later I was at her studio where she showed me her amazing creations. I fell in love with her and with her talent- and, I’ll have you know, I now wear her turbans and her creations in general almost every day! She just doesn’t stop surprising me with her talent and creativity! Roberta is the wonderful owner of one of the most beautiful vintage shops I’ve ever visited, Sofia Vintage in Como. I met her last year too, at the opening of her shop and there again I felt that “something!” She’s a Leo, incredible vintage lover and expert, huge traveler… we shared too many things in common to let this new friendship go! Her second home, Sofia Vintage, is exactly the shop of my dreams and I love every single piece that she picked!

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I share with them a lot of passion, willingness, strength, ambition and hidden dreams- which made us good friends. So it was almost natural that Ilaria’s and Roberta’s paths through me would sooner or later cross. Fortunately this happened quite quickly (a few months ago) and it ended with a beautiful collection created by Madame Ilary for Sofia Vintage with an incredible retro touch. I had the chance to have a little preview of this amazing spring-summer collection, now available at Sofia Vintage, and I was completely blown away by the incredible patterns and style of the midi circle skirts, the amazing turbans and other pieces that I can’t reveal right now, but you’ll soon see here!

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As for me, in the middle of this amazingness, I had the chance to model some pieces of this first collection! I was completely at ease in these circle skirts paired with knot turbans, vintage clutches and hats. And I can’t wait to show you the new pieces coming soon!

When Italian handmade quality meets vintage and retro style, when style meets creativity, when vintage meets handcraft, when talent meets originality… this is what can happen!

Good luck to my beautiful friends and to this new incredible collaboration that starts with the of best promises!

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The Ladybug’s Milan Design Week in a Few Pictures!

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My favorite time of the year in Milan comes in April. Hard to describe how everything changes in town: winter is just a memory, we say goodbye to tights, Spring blossoms on the trees and the streets are full of life again! This last part is mostly due to Milano Design Week (and the Fuorisalone) which brings to town stylish people from all over the world and creates thousands of events almost everywhere: you can literally have a drink at every corner while admiring installations and decorations and while getting lost in the mass of people enjoying the fresh spring nights!

There are books… or I should say encyclopedias with the list of all the events happening during the week and I always get lost on the third page of them because I would like to go and see a lot of stuff, but I rationally know that I won’t have time for almost any of it. So I try to put together a mini personal list just to not miss the essentials (well, my essentials!).

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My Milano Design Week started magically at the opening of the Elita Design Week Festival with one of the best concerts ever: Benjamin Clementine was in town for the first time in concert in Italy and I couldn’t miss the event! So my friend and I decided to bravely face the crowd of the first day (for this we needed a good beer!) and we immersed in the pure magic of Mr. Clementine’s voice and piano. Funny thing is that I heard about him not more than a week before and when I found his music on Youtube I was completely blown away. Not enough apparently, because when I left the theatre after his concert I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears: he was just AMAZING! Not bad for the start, right?

During one of my lunchtimes, I headed with my friends to the Brera Design Districts to meet my friend Roberta who was in town with a temporary installation for Gloook, The Eco-friendly Design for Homeware, with the most innovative use of paper… I mentioned it before (remember the opening of their store in Como?). I loved the greens and blues that decorated the installation: paper bees, deer, lemon trees, floral wallpaper and paper pieces everywhere (you can find more on www.gloook.it).

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On Saturday morning I decided to head to the city center to follow the Elita crew for the Extras’mall edition at the former Diurno Hotel in Piazza Duomo: the space was great (definitely worth a visit) and the market was full of handmade artists (even if quite small compared to the usual Elita’s events for Sunday Park). Among them I found Grazia, who makes beautiful headbands with African prints that can be worn as turbans or just headscarves (of course I stepped out with one of them on my head!).

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Last but not least, I took the occasion of a special installation at L’Arabesque Bookstore, Shop and Café to visit this beautiful retro space in Milan. The occasion was a special event during Design Week called “L’appartamento” (The Apartment) where an original apartment from the ’60s was re-created inside the shop with original furniture from that era. Unfortunately, my phone died by the time I got inside, but I did take a pic of one of the beautiful windows of this shop that is really worth a visit (can you see the amazing hats and retro bag? Well, they’re just some of the wonderful things that you can find inside!).

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