Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Italy. It's easily my favorite travel destination, and no matter where I go in this beautiful country I always have a wonderful experience. Each place is so unique, and yet, it's the same core aspects that make me appreciate Italy's cities so much: food, culture, history, architecture, and unique landscapes.

Most recently, I traveled to the Southern part of Italy to two regions I had never visited before: Basilicata and Puglia. I would describe these areas as being relatively untouched by tourism, and therefore unapologetically authentic and inexpensive. I enjoyed every place I visited on this trip so much, but there was one place that really stood out to me for its incredible uniqueness...Matera. 

Matera, practically carved right into the sandstone mountain upon which it sits, is surrounded by an absolutely striking landscape of valleys and fields and is known for being one of the oldest, continuously inhabited cities in the world. However, about 100 years ago, the city's conditions were baffling; entire families lived in small cave houses that were once inhabited by Neolithic settlers, and did so alongside their livestock with limited food and poor health. It was for these reasons that the once prosperous ancient city became known as the "shame of Italy" during the 20th century. But, Matera has been given a sort of second chance, as it was recently named the European Capital of Culture for 2019. 

As a result, I am sure that the popularity of Matera as a travel destination will soar over the next few years, so I wanted to share my recommendations with you, including what to see, eat, and where to stay in this memorable city. It's certainly on the list of places I'd like to return to in Italy again!
What to See: 
Because the entire city is so closely grouped, Matera may seem small, however, in reality it is comprised of buildings practically piled one on top of the next, and has a population of over 60,000 people. There really is a lot to explore in Matera, although not in the same way that there is in major Italian cities like Rome or Florence. The reason that I enjoyed this smaller city so much is because you if you really take your time and allow yourself to get lost along the way to some of the landmarks, you'll discover so much more than what has been mapped out for tourists. In the four days I spent here, I still had yet to see every nook and cranny that this ancient city had to offer. I've listed some of the sites that are definitely worth making a point to see, below.
  • Sassi di Matera - Preserved cave dwellings that originated as a prehistoric settlement dating back to 7,000 BC. This is believed to be the oldest settlement in Italy and one of the oldest in the entire world. I found it incredible that 9,000 years later, some of them are still inhabited; imagine being able to say you lived in a home that old!? Some parts are not open to tourists, as they are considered dangerous, however, I'd recommend taking an afternoon to wander this area and explore the cave houses that are not prohibited.
  • Matera Cathedral - 13th-century Catholic church in the main square of Matera. 
  • Sasso Caveoso - Cave church perched high atop one of the rocks in the city.
  • Tramontano Castle - Unfortunately this castle is now closed to the public, however, it's definitely worth a walk to. The castle is in surprisingly good condition and is surrounded by fields of natural wheat, and according to some of the locals, it has quite the scandalous history. Around the year 1500, a Count from Naples owned the castle, and would sleep with every newly married townswoman on their marriage night. As a result, some of the angry townspeople beat him to death on his way out of church one afternoon. 😟
  • Chiesa di Santa Lucia alle Malve - A medieval church cut into the sandstone rock.
  • Casa Noha - A tourist attraction in Matera where you can enjoy a short film outlining the history of the city with English translations. This isn't something I'd typically do, but to be honest, since Matera is newer to tourism, this is one of the only ways to fully understand how the city came to be.
  • Casa Grotta nei Sassi - A tourist attraction that allows you to see the way the cave houses of Matera were typically set up.
  • Parco della Murgia Materana - This is the park that you can see across the valley while in Matera's city center. It is comprised of a system of primitive caves and medieval rock churches, and is great for an afternoon of exploring. It's also the perfect spot to take some panoramic views of Matera, and to really see the build-up of architecture in the city from past to present.
Where to Stay: 
While in Matera, I stayed at La Dimora di Metello, a small boutique hotel with four modern suite-rooms built into an ancient stone dwelling in the Sassi di Matera. It's perched high up a few flights of stairs above the main city road, which gives it sweeping and picturesque views. I'd highly recommend this hotel to anyone looking for a really personal hotel experience, as the owner, Elisabetta was extremely accommodating even though there is not a 24-hour reception. She was able to book us restaurants every evening for dinner (more on the food below), all of which were incredible, a really unique tuk tuk experience which took us to the Parco della Murgia Materana, and also a great driver to get us to and from Matera. 

Although the rooms themselves are situated in caves, the hotel's decor is ultra-modern and minimalistic, and they offer a delicious breakfast every morning in the lobby. The reason I truly loved this hotel was because of the terrace and views - it totally made the visit. Each room opens up to a communal terrace, with chairs in front of each of the doors, and then one larger seating area. After climbing so many stairs while exploring each day, it was the perfect spot to sit and relax with a glass of wine before dinner while the town enjoyed their siesta.
What & Where to Eat: 
Where do I even begin? The food in Matera is certainly something to write home about. As I mentioned earlier, the owner of our hotel was able to recommend and book us tables at some of her favorite restaurants in the city, and they were all so enjoyable. We also had found a few recommendations from other travel sites and blogs, and I can truly say that we didn't have one single meal that wasn't beyond delicious - which is a rare occurrence when traveling! 

The locals pride themselves on using home-grown ingredients from local farms; from the wheat for the handmade pasta, to the fruit and vegetables, the cheese, the meat, and even the wine! It's also worth pointing out that the food here was some of the best and least expensive that I've ever had in Italy; a dinner for two with appetizers, entrees, a bottle of wine and dessert would cost between 60-80 USD, depending on whether you choose meat or pasta. Below I've outlined my favorite restaurants in Matera, as well as some dishes you should not miss there!
  • Al Casale - There is something (delicious) for everyone at Al Casale; including pizza, fish, meat, pasta and a few other vegetarian options. The restaurant had an incredible meat and cheese plate (see above) and great wine menu to go along with it. I'd recommend trying a bottle of the Monacello Primitivo, which is a wine I have only been able to find in Matera; it's reasonably priced and deliciously full-bodied. I also liked that they offered small pasta dishes, which are typically shared prior to the main course; it's a great place to try a few types of local, handmade pasta.
  • Hemingway's Bar - Sounds like a tourist trap, but I promise it's not. This is a local-filled bar with great outdoor seating perfect for enjoying lunch and a cocktail in the sun. We ate a plate of assorted crostini and shared a salad; it was simple, but so delicious. 
  • La Gattabuia - This restaurant is located in an old cave prison, which gives it some serious ambience, surprisingly. It also has a really great menu filled with local delicacies, like Meatballs & Bread with Vegetables and Crushed Cruschi peppers (fried local peppers that are delicious), Mixed Pasta with Beans and Cream of Mussels, and Lamb with Garlic and Mint, which is not for me, but I did see it appear on quite a few menus.
  • Da Nico - This restaurant is located right below our hotel, La Dimora di Metello, and has absolutely delicious homemade pasta dishes and charcuterie platters. Try the cavatelli, the orecchiette, or the papardelle...or all three! Pair it with a bottle of chilled Primitivo Rosato wine 😍. I'm hungry just thinking about it.
  • Oi Mari - A popular Neapolitan-style pizza restaurant, that's perfect for both lunch and dinner. They have many pizzas to choose from, all of which are delicious. Oi Mari offers outdoor seating, but it's worth noting that the inside of the restaurant has a wonderful aesthetic as well. Try the Sporcamus for dessert; a local creme filled pastry which translates to "dirty mouth" - you'll see why when you try.
Have you ever visited Matera before? If so, I'd love to hear what you loved most about it!

I've mentioned briefly over on instagram that I recently purchased my first home with my boyfriend, Kurt. After college, I moved back home to save money for a few years while I worked, with the goal of buying my own place much before I turned 30. The time has finally come, and it still sounds strange to say the words "homeowner" without feeling like I am playing house as a little kid...but it also feels like it was the right time.

We (with some handy help from family) have been spending a lot of time over the past few weeks getting the new place set up and feeling like home. It's definitely a daunting process coming from your parents home; you almost don't realize just how much you need to fill a space. We chose to buy a townhome because we are both busy with work and wanted an easier transition before having the full-on maintenance of a house with more property to care for, and even still, it's going to be a journey getting everything set up the way we'd like it to be. 

Our place is relatively new, so there luckily aren't too many necessary changes that need to be made; just cosmetic updates to make the space suit our taste. Let's just say it's going to be a busy next few weeks as we paint and begin making some updates now that we are moved in with all of our furniture. In the meantime, there have been a few key tricks I've learned about how to make a place feel truly like home.
1) Make Small, But Impactful Changes to the Spaces You Use Most, First. 
This was important to me, because as someone who is quite impatient when it comes to things like this, I knew I couldn't feel completely at home until I rid the space of some elements that didn't at all suit my style. For us, that meant removing unsightly lighting fixtures and adding touches that made things feel personal. For example, we were able to instantly give the whole main floor a facelift by adding a new West Elm light above our dining room table, along with some Water Hyacinth placemats, and a Terrain planter filled with fragrant Eucalyptus. Oh...and a bottle of celebratory champagne never hurts either 😉.
2) Scent Your Space.
I've always felt as though scent has a great impact on how a space makes you feel. Growing up, my house always smelled like fresh laundry and flowers from the garden, and it's something I'd miss when I left for vacation or school. Of course, when you move into a new space, it's missing that familiar smell that really makes it feel like your own. 

One of the first things I did when I got the keys to my new place was set up my diffusers and light a few candles, and I can't tell you what a difference it made to the space. Scent manages to create a relaxing environment that feels cleaner and more personal, and I've absolutely felt that way about my living room space since I began using the Jo Malone London Pomegranate Noir Scent Surround Diffuser. I've always been a fan of the fragrance on the skin, but I feel that in the home, you can really detect that perfect balance between the warmth of the spicy wood notes, floral from Casablanca lilies, and freshness from pomegranate and pink pepper. This diffuser also manages to envelop a space with the perfect amount of strength; I love that I can smell hints of it whether I am walking by briefly or sitting on the couch closer to it, without it ever being cloying. I also feel that the packaging offers a beautifully sleek look to spaces, adding a luxurious touch to your space. I now look forward to the familiarity of the scent when I get home after a long day.
3) Choose Your "Signature" Color Palette.
Choosing a color palette is a great way to get started designing your new space, especially if, like me, you didn't have a lot to work with yet. I chose to use gray as my main color, with aqua as an accent (in small doses), and then added natural and neutral touches from rattan, iron, dark wood, and woven cream fabrics. I find this to be a foolproof way to choose items for your space, and it helps to tie everything together, especially because I don't own a super large house that I feel can be separated out into many different styles, and still work. To me, this palette has become an aspect of the space that makes it feel much more like my own, and sort of creates a signature look. 
4) Be Hospitable.
Opening our new space to our friends and family has been a really great way to make it feel like home. Because, after all, it is the people who bring the personality and help to create new memories in your new home. Always have a bottle of wine or champagne chilled so that you're ready for guests at any given moment. Having this mindset also gives you a reason to make sure your space doesn't ever get messy; you'll always want it to look presentable!

I can't wait to share more of the new space with you as we update and make it truly our own. Let me know if you'd like to see before and after photos as we go along, and don't forget to share the ways you make a house feel like a home as well.

Shop My Home Decor Picks: 

After a long month spent moving house, to say that I am in need of some down time is an understatement. Testing new beauty products has always been one of the ways that I like to unwind, and of course, it's also one of the best excuses to spend a little time taking care of myself. So, when BRÖÖ reached out to see if I'd be interested in testing out their new BRÖÖ Moods Aromatherapy Lotions, I thought it sounded like the perfect opportunity to let go of some stress, and to hopefully discover a new routine staple. Before I get into the details of this new body care favorite, let's just say that those missions were both accomplished.

BRÖÖ Moods is a line of aromatherapy lotions that recently launched exclusively at Walmart and Walmart.com, and includes three unique formulas: Sleep, Reboot, and Unplug. I instantly felt a connection to the brand when I found out that they use beer in their haircare products to give volume and shine, which is something my mother used to tell me to do when I wanted to treat my locks. 

It's safe to say that their body products are equally as clever; the line of body lotions embraces aromatherapy technology to improve the ever-changing moods of millennials' (I know them all too well) and pairs with a meditation app which can be downloaded from the app store.  The BRÖÖ app offers a variety of music and sounds that can be used in conjunction with its lotion counterpart, for a fully immersive beauty experience that really pushes you to take time out to breathe a bit everyday.
The app is super easy to use, and really sets the mood for your product application. As I mentioned earlier, I enjoy my daily beauty routine and the few moments that it allows me to stop and reflect; so you can imagine my excitement over a product that takes that one step further. Every evening, after my shower, I have been listening to the sound "FX" as I apply my Sleep lotion; and as someone who loves the sound of the rain at night, I have quickly fallen for the gentle rain effect on the app. Try it for yourself...but I will add the disclaimer that you may not be able to keep your eyes open until bedtime.
The Reboot Aromatherapy lotion has become my early morning standby; it includes bergamot essential oils that give you a spark of energy which pairs perfectly with your morning cup of coffee. There's also an Unplug Aromatherapy lotion, which I look to on the weekends when I really want to take the time to relax and enjoy my days at a slower pace. 
I also really appreciate that all of the BRÖÖ products are all natural and made right here in the U.S.A., meaning they are free of parabens, dyes, phtalates, synthetic fragrances, PEGs, propylene glycol, polyquaterniums and phenoxyethanol. It's really incredible to be able to find an affordable body care product that offers both high quality ingredients and creates a wonderfully luxurious experience. 

*Thank you to BRÖÖ for sponsoring this post. 
"Spring Cleaning" doesn't just apply to your living space; it's something you can do in every aspect of your life. Every season I like to rotate some of my skincare products so that I can make sure they are working their hardest and that I have the best possible products in my routine for the weather and current skin needs. My favorite skincare brand, La Prairie, recently launched two new products that have made their way into my routine...and will definitely be sticking around. 

Creams have become a must-have in my routine, whereas I used to rely more heavily on serums and oils for hydration. While I still use both, I have realized rich, but fast absorbing creams work best for me in the morning; especially when they have major skin-altering benefits as well. The La Prairie White Caviar Crème Extraordinaire has quickly filled the role; it's a rich, decadent cream that helps skin become more luminous and even thanks to a new science developed by La Prairie's researchers. In just a few weeks of use my skin looks noticeably brighter and my pores are refined and it has an overall resurfaced feeling, yet is moisturized and plumped at the same time. I'm telling you, this cream is worth the investment, and just a small pump goes a long way.
The second product I've fallen for is the brand new La Prairie Skin Caviar Essence in Foundation, which is a merge of skincare and makeup that creates a flawless, skin-like finish without sacrificing the texture of the skin. As I get older, I get more wary of the foundations that I use and how they wear throughout the day, and this one provides a veil of color that feels comforting on the skin the same way the brand's skincare does. I swear this feels to me as though I could wear it to sleep and it would still feel great come morning. The finish is satin-like, yet feels super hydrating on the skin. This, coupled with the new cream has certainly done wonders in preparing my skin for the warmer weather.
How do you change up your routine for the spring season?
*PR samples included.

Spring has always provided an opportune moment to rearrange regular routines for a clean and fresh start. Whether you spruce up your interiors with a few new key pieces, revamping your dress wardrobe, or adding some lighter floral-centered fragrances to your vanity; changing up your typical routine is the perfect way to start the new season with a clean slate.

For me, the latter has always been something I sincerely look forward to at the end of the winter season. I stereotypically use headier, warmer scents with notes of tobacco, vanilla and musk in the colder months and make the swap to brighter and more wearable fragrances come spring. I've rounded up some of my current favorites for you to explore, below.
Jo Malone London Green Wheat & Meadowsweet Cologne - This is a fresh and lively fragrance with crisp notes of green wheat and white notes of meadowsweet. I love the initial freshness of this perfume, and that once it settles, it becomes powdery and soft. This is a great choice for those who really like a clean, crisp floral scent that lays closer to the skin.

Jo Malone London Oat & Cornflower Cologne - This scent is the absolute dream for spring. It offers a creamy sandalwood note that's brightened by blue cornflowers and and grounded with a base of green vetiver. I absolutely love how unique it is; I've really never smelled anything quite like it. If only this weren't limited edition I think it would become my signature, year-round scent.

Jo Malone London Honey & Crocus Cologne - A warm honey note and bright crocus come together with a hint of herbal lavender in this springtime release from Jo Malone. I love how the brand was able to create something so fresh, yet comforting at the same time; the note of honey seems almost as if it had sat in the spring sun all day. Trust me, you need to smell this for yourself.

Diptyque L'Ombre Dans L'eau - This is one of those fragrances I had never given a second glance, because I had heard it was reminiscent of the brand's cult-favorite candle, Baies. I never could imagine that as a perfume, because I pictured it to be overpowering; but I was so wrong. This scent is the original blend of fruity, green, and floral notes, and it does this combination in the best way. It's crisp with green leaves, juicy with berries, and feminine with rose all at the same time. I love that I can smell it close to the skin all day long.

Creed Fleurs de Gardenia - This delicate, graceful floral is the springtime ideal, complete with gardenia, roses, lavender, peonies, and pinkberries. I love that this stays true to the feminine, and seasonally appropriate floral bouquet, yet maintains a softer side that doesn't demand too much attention. 

Jo Loves Red Truffle 21 - Perfect for throwing in my handbag when on-the-go, this fig-centric scent is right up my street. It strikes the perfect balance between warming and fresh thanks to the addition of spicy pine notes, earthy truffle notes, and fresh hints of citrus. I love that it's unexpected, and still manages to bring that sexy factor a fragrance that's wearable throughout the warmer months.

Kilian Good Girl Gone Bad - This is a recent discovery for me, and I have quickly fallen for this floral that boasts both warm fruits and heady florals. With notes of apricot, osmanthus, orange blossom, rose, tuberose, and jasmine, this scent is meant to portray an uninhibited woman who finds herself in the garden of good and evil. It's perfect for spring nights out.
*pr samples included.

You may have noticed that I've been increasingly absent around here over the past months year. I read so many blog posts explaining how bloggers will be better with writing more often and keeping up with their blogs like they used to, but the truth is it's getting harder with the increasing pressure to have the best content. 

But, if I'm being honest, the content that I often like reading the most isn't the kind that's overly perfect and edited to the point that there is nothing real about it. I have always been hard on myself in this space, knowing that I have less resources and time to devote to maintaining my space than professional bloggers do. I think I allowed that to be my excuse for getting lazy about sharing my thoughts, my content, and my life on this site that I worked so hard at for so long. 

I'll be real; I don't have a professional photographer following me around (obvs) and I work a full time job that I pour most of my energy into. I also have found myself with an urge to share content other than just beauty; my tastes have changed over the years, and I find myself exploring other creative outlets. Of course, I can never avoid my passion for testing new products, and my love of skincare is always increasing, so that will always be the main topic of discussion here. But, I feel that in order to keep myself inspired to write, I have to start sharing some other topics that I feel passionate about; perhaps more lifestyle, travel tips, interiors (did I tell you I bought my first home?!) and maybe even recipes. 

So, there you have it. I hope to see more of you around here as my content develops into new realms, and becomes more real, open, and honest! As always, let me know if there are any topics you'd like to see me cover as well; your opinions mean a lot to me.

Thanks for following along,

Corinne 

By now you guys know my favorite places to shop for beauty products; let's just say that Nordstrom certainly tops the list. I love how they curate their product offerings, and group new launches into trend categories, making it easy to shop for new must-haves based on the season's hottest looks. 

That's exactly why I had to share the Nordstrom Beauty Trend Event with you all. Every New York Fashion Week, Nordstrom assesses the upcoming season's most popular beauty trends backstage so that they can share the knowledge with Nordstrom shoppers. 

This Spring 2018, they've identified trends such as Luminous Skin and Hi-Definition Lips; two of my favorite ways to create a clean, sophisticated, yet bold beauty look. So, during the Beauty Trend Event, guests can learn how to achieve these gorgeous seasonal runway-inspired looks and get free samples and exclusive gifts with purchase (while supplies last). Guests will also have access to one-on-one time with Nordstrom beauty experts, and learn the tips, tricks and intel necessary to achieve these looks themselves! 

The best part is the event is free and customers can simply RSVP online, or ask for special accommodations by calling or stopping by their favorite beauty counters at Nordstrom. 

To read more about Spring 2018's trends, click here. Or, to learn more about the Nordstrom Beauty Trend Events, click here.

Image Source (clockwise): 1, 2, 4
You might say it's been awhile; and it has! I'm committed to getting back in the swing of things here on Necessary Nothings, as it's been a crazy 6 months or so. I started a new job last year and have been quite busy with that; not to mention travel, general life...oh, and I bought my first home! I will be moving in the first week of June, so right now I'm completely consumed by the interiors world. Pottery Barn, West Elm, Crate and Barrel, Anthropologie - you name it, I'm browsing the sites all day

But, I'm back with a base recommendation that's too good not to share. You know one of my all time favorite beauty brands is Giorgio Armani. They are a brand that you know is just always going to knock it out the park, especially when it comes to eyes, lips, and base. Meet their newest base release and my latest obsession...Armani Face Fabric Second Skin Makeup. This stuff is a dream to apply, especially for lazy girls who like a bit of coverage and also want that smooth-skin look. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for glow, but I have combination skin...so I like to control the glow. 
This foundation has a beautiful, almost whipped texture and a light coverage that evens out my skin, blurs my pores and imperfections, and prevents shine from taking over. I would say staying power isn't the highest of all their foundation range; but I'm happy with this one for an everyday, natural look. I can always reach for my Luminous Silk when I need my makeup to stay life-proof. 

Have you guys tried the new Giorgio Armani Face Fabric Foundation?

*pr samples included.
Jo Malone London has always been one of my favorite (ok, maybe my all time favorite) fragrance brands. Not only do I love how fresh their scents are; I also love that they are made to be combined for a bespoke result. The simplicity of the scents allow them to not be overpowering even when mixed together, which means they are amazing for layering. I have so much fun crafting my own combinations, and am constantly changing them to suit the season and my mood. 

When Jo Malone London recently launched their Fragrance Combining Trios, I was thrilled. I love the fact that these sets do the dirty work for you, yet still produce the same inimitable result. My favorite, the English Pear & Freesia Fragrance Combining Trio offers a 1 oz. bottle of English Pear & Freesia, along with a 0.3 oz. bottle of Earl Grey & Cucumber, and a 0.3 oz bottle of English Oak & Redcurrant Cologne.
The set is very playful, yet when the scents are paired together, they remind me of a cozy Autumn day. The soft florals, the crisp freshness of cucumber and the warm oak trees all bring back fond memories of my favorite season. 

For daytime, I like to spritz the English Pear & Freesia on my wrists and the Earl Gray & Cucumber on my neck, for a fresh, clean floral scent that's comforting, yet invigorating. For evening, I love adding the English Oak & Redcurrant Cologne for an added depth and hint of warmth. The result is cozy and has a masculine edge that makes the floral tougher, and more unique.

I love that there are so many combinations just within this set. I can't wait to see what Jo Malone London dreams up next. 
*pr samples included.
I'm no stranger to the wonders of French beauty products; if you're a regular here, you'll no doubt see them popping up in posts more often than not. But, admittedly, while I love a luxurious French product, I love scouring the pharmacies when I visit France even more. The pharmacies are truly treasure troves when it comes to hair volumizing and refreshing products, pore clearing masks, eye-depuffing creams and gentle acne solutions. I'm telling you - the French have a pharmacy solution to every beauty woe you could ever imagine...and they are all chic! 

A month ago, when I was in Paris, I took a few trips to these beauty meccas to see what I could find. Below are some of my new French pharmacy discoveries, mixed in with old favorites.
  • La Roche Posay Serozinc - A miracle-working toner that contains zinc sulfates. This fine mist soothes redness and irritation, balances oiliness, and keeps skin clear. P.S. This used to be extremely hard to find...but you can now find it stateside!
  • Darphin Intral Redness Relief Soothing Serum - If you suffer from redness when you have dry skin, this thin fluid serum will solve all your problems and soothe skin.
  • Avene Soothing Moisture Mask - One of my all-time favorite masks; it plumps up the skin and seems to fill in fine lines. In all honesty, it just feels good to use. I'd compare it to a glass of water for the face.
  • Vichy Mineral 89 - I've been totally addicted to this hyaluronic acid serum lately. It provides supreme hydration, but is light, dries matte and never clogs pores.
  • Leonor Greyl Protecting and Nourishing Serum - This all-natural hair product is one of those multi-taskers that I love to use when I'm not in the mood to faff around with a full routine. Just smooth a pump or two through the mid-lengths and ends of hair for smooth, bouncy strands.
  • Darphin Rose Aromatic Care - One of the original skincare oils, and still one of my favorites! Darphin makes one for every skin type, this one works great on dehydrated skin. It helps to balance moisture and smooth the surface.
  • Caudalie Instant Detox Mask - Enriched with coffee and pink clay, this mask instantly draws out impurities and smooths the skin. I reach for this one when I need to keep breakouts at bay.
  • La Roche Posay Makeup Remover Micellar Water Gel - This is a unique cleanser that is gentle on the skin and removes makeup using the same spheres in Micellar water. I love how refreshing this feels on the skin, and that it doesn't foam up or strip moisture.

Shop this post:

The day after Christmas I left for a two week trip to Europe; the main goal being to explore the Alps during the winter season. A few friends, my boyfriend and I flew into Paris and enjoyed five days eating at our way around the city and visiting Versailles. I always love taking a trip right after Christmas; the cities are still lit up with lights and the crowds die down for a few days, only to reappear in time for New Year's Eve. That being said, we decided to head to Switzerland before things got too crowded in the City of Lights, so I packed up my arsenal of La Prairie products and headed for colder temperatures.

The Alps were stunning; we used Interlaken as a base to explore the surrounding Jungfrau region and spent time in Wengen, Grindelwald (my favorite) and Jungfraujoch. It was cold and dry at those high altitudes, so I was thrilled to have skincare that I could rely on to keep me hydrated and looking fresh even through all that train travel and bitter cold. 
We met a Swiss woman who lived in Grindelwald, and one of the first things she mentioned was that Swiss women relied on certain brands to keep their skin healthy in that kind of climate, because of their ingredients. I am happy to report that La Prairie was on that list..."a worthy investment," she said.

Of course, I had to streamline my routine as much as I could, so I brought a few of my favorites from the brand on my journey. Every morning after cleansing and applying toner, I applied the Essence of Caviar Eye Complex around my eye area to keep the skin hydrated and feeling taught. I swear this little dropper is filled with miracle fluid; every time I was looking tired, I would pat on some of this and look instantly more awake and refreshed. 

When my skin is drier, I like to eliminate the need for thicker base makeup, and one of my tips for being able to do that is to layer skincare. I would apply the illuminating eye cream from the Anti-Aging Eye & Lip Perfection à Porter, along with a layer of the lip balm for a perfected pout. Then, I'd dab on just a bit of the Light Fantastic Cellular Concealer to my under eye area for a light dose of coverage that wouldn't dehydrate the area. 

For the rest of my face, I relied completely on the multitasking Cellular Swiss UV Protection Veil for a dose of moisture and sun protection that also managed to smooth away dehydration lines and keep my skin feeling balanced. And trust me when I say that blending a bit of the Cellular Radiance Cream Blush on the apples of my cheeks made all the difference. I love this blush for its ability to fuse into the skin and look completely undetectable - my favorite shade is Rose Glow.

I'll be sharing my travel guides soon, but in the meantime, tell me - what products do you rely on in colder climates?

*pr samples included.

Fragrance has always been an element of beauty that can easily alter my mood; it's closely tied to memories, and can really leave a lasting impression. It's for these reasons that I really appreciate niche fragrances, especially when they involve a bespoke selection and creation process. 

I recently discovered a New York City based brand, Olfactory, which is quite unlike any I have encountered before. They truly take the meaning of bespoke fragrances to the next level, and offer customers the opportunity to not only select a unique scent, but to then further customize it by intensifying certain notes and personalizing the label. 
Every Olfactory NYC fragrance is made specially for the customer in the brand's New York studio. The collection encompasses nine fragrances in total, however, each of them can be tailored to the wearer's personal taste by blending combinations of accords to further enhance certain notes. 

This is the new way to wear fragrance; I personally love the idea that when I wear Olfactory, I'm wearing a fragrance unique to me. I also found the process of selection incredibly satisfying, as I was able to describe the notes I typically enjoy in a scent, and Olfactory presented me with Hunter, which contains tantalizing notes of Vanilla, Musk and Ambrette. I then had my scent further personalized with an additional green note, as I tend to like green fragrances with an overall vanilla or amber base, which resulted in my perfect winter fragrance. I love how it sits close to the skin and feels comforting, like it was truly made to suit me.

One of my favorite things about Olfactory is that they don't focus on big marketing and really stress the quality of the fragrances themselves, which allows them to price their scents fairly, especially for bespoke products.
It's safe to say I'm a convert to Olfactory's fragrance line; I already can't wait to select and personalize a scent for the Spring and Summer months from their collection. Have you tried this brand before?

*Thank you to Olfactory NYC for sponsoring this post.
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