Ciao bella! Another school year comes to an end and Olivier has outgrown his summer clothes before I’ve even had a chance to replace them. School was in overdrive with year-end activities and our home has once again become a hotel for visiting family and friends! But I miss our Friday rituel de beauté at Café Charlot. Still, even if we cannot meet, on my end, the beauty talk continues…
Recently, I’ve been Facetime-ing with my girlfriend Jill in the US. Jill and I met in 1999 when we were both launching our first companies: Ravinstyle, for her, and Miki P, for me. Hers was one of the very first online boutique shopping sites to offer emerging New York fashion, curate products by lifestyle, and feature powerful stories of real women. My line did well at Ravinstyle, and our synergy was the launching pad for our friendship.
It’s been two years since Jill and I last spoke, but we got back into the groove immediately. I loved what she had to say about beauty:
“It’s easy to think of beauty in terms of how you look, measured by clothes, wrinkles and pounds. The funny thing is the most beautiful people I know don’t worry much about those things. They’re aware, clearly, but live in ways that promote health and happiness, which seem to be followed by beauty.”
Balance is always a word that gets used in this conversation. I often tell myself that I should fight to have it all, a career, marriage, kids, a social life.
When I realize that it doesn’t have to be all at the same time, that I should trust that I am where I’m supposed to be, I realize that I DO have it all: satisfaction and gratitude are also beauty.
My mother has been my greatest teacher and is the most beautiful woman I know — a natural beauty with amazing style and successful careers. She is also a very spiritual person, constantly learning, working on herself through yoga, meditation and kindness. Her example has been a gift to me, one that I hope I am conveying to my daughter as the essence of true beauty.”
We exchanged updates and compliments as per usual, and shared our favorite go-to beauty products. Her’s was Kiehl’s lip balm – too funny, since as you know, I am never without my Avène Baume lèvres! She carries one in every bag and gets her kids to carry it too, like I do with Olivier!
“Even post-gym with no make up on, it adds a light healthy shine to the lips which brightens up the whole face. And though it’s meant for lips, it’s good for a dry patch of skin and it smooths and holds eyebrows in place. I also dab it on as a glossy highlighter, on the top of cheekbones and eyelids,” she said.
When we spoke about rituals, she waxed lyrical about tea:
“Green for health, chamomile to unwind, and chai for something sweet. It’s a nourishing, hydrating form of aromatherapy and almost a ceremonial practice. You have to stop for a minute, inhale deeply and enjoy it!”
“Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize,” was my response. Coconut oil, when I’m in the tropics, and my latest at home favorite is L’Or Bio by Melvita. Massaged in gently, it’s a mindful gesture of self-care. I love essential oils and am soothed by their soft fragrance.
We said bonne nuit at midnight, Paris time. Time truly flies. That said, I miss you, ma belle. Let me know how you’ve been.
These days, we don’t have much time to see each other … and you’re right when you say that time passes too quickly. Anyway, you’ve made me want to meet your sweet Jill!
I was lucky to meet up with my friend Mahnaz the other day. It’s been eight years since we all first met at St. Genevieve when our boys were entering maternelle… can you believe it? I can still picture the first day. She was the person who stood out the most to me – all spruced up in color with the biggest smile. She seemed more comfortable than I; radiant even, with her 2 older sons and her husband – such a beautiful couple!
The years have passed so quickly. How Mahnaz manages as an in-demand interior designer, with her four men (her husband and three boys) and a dog at home, never ceases to amaze me. Her youthful energy, beauty and individual way of dressing puts her in a league of her own. I love the way she mixes modern and vintage. Her ever unique pairings of hats, bracelets and earrings worn in a way only she could pull off! So timeless, so Parisienne, so her.
We had coffee one morning, very early, and I also asked her some questions, including: What does beauty mean to you?
Her reply: “I find beauty in colors. I dress a little gypsy and classical. I am cheerful by nature, so I smile at life! And I love and am loved by my man, our children, my friends … my florist.”
You know Mahnaz, when it rains it pours…in color!
What do you do to make yourself feel beautiful?
“In the morning I’m racing, but I always take time after my shower to pass cream all over my body. It’s an indispensable ritual that makes me feel good.
I like to mix masculine and feminine when I dress and don’t care for much make-up beyond lipstick. I accentuate with my glasses, my bag, and my accessories… I make sure that my outfit can go from on-site appointments with clients to a drink with friends, or a rendez-vous with my husband… I don’t think it takes much for me to feel beautiful.”
I told her of my beauty must-have… I never go out without my Elixir perfume by Clinique. After 25 years, it still intoxicates me, and I always have a bottle in my bag.
With that, our coffee had been drunk and she ran off to her next appointment.
We don’t need much, do we, ma belle? And now, I too have to go… Because, as you know, I’m getting married Saturday!
Hugs to you, and see you soon back in Paris!