Beach outfit ideas

Welcome, hot temperatures, beaches and palm trees ! Summer is my favorite time of the year – not very original, I know – so I’m very happy!

I’m also very excited because I am in Greece right now, on the island of Rhodes, and I am having so much fun. I’ll make a video of our trip but for now you can follow our adventure on my instagram.

Greece is full of incredible beaches and breathtaking landscapes, so I selected for you  four beach outfits that I hope will inspire you! 

 

Between the City and the Sea

HELLO-3This amazing red one-piece bathing suit is from New Look, if you wear it with shorts, it can be turned into a top that you can wear outside of the beach. The shorts are from H&M, they are a basic, high-waisted model. The scandals are from Minelli and I’m in love with the colors and the gold feathers. For the accessories, I selected these clubmaster RayBan sunglasses and a tote bag from H&M.

 

Bohemian Beauty

HELLOI find this look perfect for a more secluded, wild kind of beach. The Bikini is from Calzedonia, (Top and bottom) I like the different tones of green. It matches perfectly with this Folys beach bag. I put a touch of yellow with the H&M flower headband and H&M sandals. I chose a white off the shoulder dress from New Look and for the finishing touch, I added this light brown pair of RayBans.

 

Chic in Black

HELLO-2I wanted to create a chic style and for me nothing is chicer than black. The off the shoulder one piece bathing suit is from New look. I am in love with it, and paired it with these Ivyrevel mesh shorts. I chose a straw hat from H&M  with a dark touch to match the rest the outfit. The transparent beach bag is from ZARA, the sandals from Bershka. To finish, I added a Micheal Kors watch to elevate the whole outfit and a pair of sunglasses from Marc Jacob.

 

 

Chill in Blue

HELLO-4This look is the one that reflects my own style the most. In a previous video, I told you about this Ivyrevel off the shoulder bikini (Top and Bottom).  I  love it for the colors, the flower pattern and the shape of the top. It looks great with this pair of New Look shorts and these Micheal Kors sunglasses. These are the sunglasses I discovered at the MK outlet in Cannes. Since the outfit is very colorful already, I chose these silver Havaianas and a transparent tote from New Look to complete the look with a neutral touch.

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Our Faves of the moment

This week we made a selection of our favorites of the moment. From outfits to Netflix series, here are the things we are loving this season!

Fave outfits

Laura: Summer took a while to pay us a visit here in Chicago, but now that it is finally hot out, I have to say my favorite outfit for the weekends are crop tops paired with high-waisted bottoms, whether they are shorts, skirts or pants.  When it comes to shoes, I love wedges because it gives you a slimmer look while still being super comfortable. I specifically like the rope trimmed one, because they give off a beachy retro vibe. I own a pair of Michael Kors from last year’s collection, but these are fairly similar.

May: The off the shoulder tops are definitely my fave of the moment, and I guess I won’t be the only one this summer. I especially like the tops with the separated sleeves and bust – like this one – because they are more comfortable if you need to raise your arms.

In my closet, my favorite is the one pictured below. It’s from Zara, I bought it last year and I’m still crazy in love with it. The fabric is really light, which makes it so comfortable. It can be worn everyday, or dressed up for formal occasions.

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I also love the off the shoulder bikini style, but that deserves its own separate post.

 

Fave Hair Style

May: Braids braids braids! My coworkers can definitely confirm my passion for braids. I love this hairstyle, it’s comfortable and looks sophisticated. Once you get how to do it you can make a billion of different styles, like twin braids or crown braids.

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Right now, what I love to do is to make two little Dutch braids on each side of my head and make a pony tail. Braids of all kinds are by far my best everyday partner. If you’d like to know how to make a Dutch braid, I’ve made a tutorial for you.

Laura: Currently, my style is easy and effortless when it comes to hair. Finally I can let my hair air-dry unless I have to style it for a classier look. My hair is naturally wavy, so after I apply my care products, I kind of let if flow freely with a hair clip so it does not get in my face. If it gets too frizzy, I put it up in a top knot bun or do a half up-do braid.

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Fave Beauty product

Laura: Funny enough, without consulting with each other, May and I both wanted to tell you guys about a primer we discovered recently. The one I am using is Photo Finish Foundation – Pore minimizing by Smashbox. I have had a particularly busy and hectic couple of months and have not slept much. In spite of that, I have never received so many compliments about my skin, which is actually far from amazing at the moment. I have this little gem to thank. It smooths down your imperfections, and evens out your skin tones while feeling super soft and comfortable on the skin, even in this hot and humid weather.

May: Instant smooth primer from Clarins is my fave of all time. It’s a transparent make up primer that has a very soft texture, it reminds me of foam. When you apply it on your skin, it will fill in your pores and smooth out the imperfections. Then, when you apply your foundation your skin looks perfect.

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Fave Music

Laura: Because I am longing for a vacation and beach days, I am currently obsessed with the Latin hit Despacito. I know it is cliché, but I can’t help picturing myself at the beach, or dancing at a summer party.  I love the original version best, with Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee… Sorry Justin Bieber!

May: Right now, I love listening to Ed Sheerean, and I can’t resist dancing and singing to the Shape of You. I also love listening the several amazing covers of this song; I selected three for you: one by Samantha Harvey, one by Gootmusic and the third by Twins Melody.

 

Fave Netflix series

Laura: I haven’t watched a lot of Netflix in the past few months, but now that my shows are coming back, I am watching again. Recently, I got back into Orange is the New Black, which I watch with delight and anxiety, because of the struggles that the characters go through. I like that each character gets their own story, and that it is not all back or white: everyone is deeply flawed, but also touching in their own ways.

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Apart from that, I have been trying to get back into House of Cards, but with the current political climate, I just could not bring myself to watch it yet, which is a shame because I loved the first four seasons.                                                                                                      Lastly, I love the Chelsea Show. I have been a Chelsea Handler fan for a long time, but sometimes got tired of her former show on E! Chelsea Lately. I think that being on Netflix and executive producer of her own show gave Chelsea more flexibility to talk about a wide range of topics from the most trivial to the most important, while keeping her irreverent sense of humor.

May: Together with my boyfriend, we love watching many different series on Netflix. I like Sense 8, Designated Survivor and – of course – Breaking Bad, but at the moment we have a new crush and that’s Iron Fist. I like the Marvel movies but it’s the first time that I watch a series. Since the very first episode, I loved it.

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The story is about Danny Rand, a billionaire who disappeared during a plane crash when he was a child.  After 15 years, he is back in New York to take over the family business. He will discover that corruption and crime are gangrening his family business and his loved ones. While he was missing, Danny acquires the knowledge of martial arts and the ability to use the Iron Fist from the monks of K’un One. He will use his ability to fix up his company.

Fave Activity

Laura: Lately, all I want to do is be outside. Since I have to wait a while before I am on vacation, I like to pretend I’m on vacation by hanging out on some of the best rooftops of the city, or lounging on restaurant patios. I am also planning a few trips to the lake beaches. My goal, before I leave in July, is to try Oak Street Beach, because I have not had a chance to try it yet!

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May: These days the sun is shinning so much and the temperatures are so hot that if I had to choose an activity it would be hanging out at the pool. I love laying on a lounging chair with a fruit cocktail reading blogs and magazines or going into the water and swim a few laps. I use my Apple Watch to calculate the distance I swim and the calories I burn. The pool is a perfect compromise for me to do some exercise without dying because of the temperature. At the same time, it’s the perfect place to rest (especially after working out).

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Sweet Home Chicago

Just a disclaimer: you may come across a few articles about Chicago in the next month or so. I recently found out that I was going to relocate to the East Coast at the end of July.

This means that I will be leaving the city that has been my home for the past six and a half years. Looking back, I realize that it’s been a long time! While I am happy to move on to new adventures, there are definitely many things I will miss about this amazing city.

So this first article will  mention some of the things that make Chicago my home.

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  • Walking/jogging by the lake

In my time here, I have moved a few times within the city, but I always made sure to stay within walking distance to Lake Michigan. It is one of the Great Lakes, so it resembles a sea because you cannot see the other side.  Though it does not have a salty breeze. I love being near the water; it is one of the few things that relax me. I don’t really care for lake beaches, but it is in Chicago that I really started jogging on a regular basis.  While I am no marathon runner, I go at least once a week on the lake path and it has become essential to my well-being. I should also add that the view of the skyline from the lakefront is pretty amazing.

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  • The yearly traditions

I love that Chicago has all four seasons, although the Spring often blends into the others. Each one of them brings yearly events that I love to attend. Two in particular are my favorites:

– The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House, which happens every year in October. For a weekend, many public and private buildings are made available to the public. Chicago’s architecture is amazing and I love exploring places that are closed to the public most of the time. It is like a weekend adventure into the unknown without leaving your own city and the list of participating locations change every year.

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– The ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago has a free zoo in the heart of the city and every Christmas, in collaboration with ComEd, they deck out the entire space with colorful light displays. It is like walking into a magical wonderland and I have not missed it since December 2012!

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  • The food scene

Chicago has an amazing restaurant scene. For a place famous for its hot dogs, pizza and Italian beef, the food scene is actually very diverse! There are a lot of up and coming restaurants with a wide variety of cuisines, and my boyfriend and I love exploring new hot spots, whether they are gastronomic institutions, or neighborhood gems. As a tribute to our neighborhood, and because I intend to make a more expansive article on restaurants later, I will only mention the unassuming places we typically walk to and leave out the acclaimed culinary temples you will find on a guide. Our favorite for Thai is Andy’s Thai Kitchen. For a local burger we got to DryHop or Kuma’s too.  For sushi – and the competition is fierce around here – we love Sushi Mon, and my favorite, everyday/healthy option is Vegetarian Express. This place is literally a hole in the wall; as a matter of fact I don’t think I ever ate inside it, but their food makes for awesome take out!

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  • The neighborhoods

Chicago has a multitude of neighborhoods. When I first arrived, I was surprised of how serious people are about the neighborhood they are from. They all have a different vibe and different trends. The funny part is as I spent time in the city, I too became attached to my neighborhood! Chicago is so spread out that people end up spending a lot of time in their respective neighborhoods because it helps make living here more personal.

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Here are some of my favorites: Lakeview (you should hit up Boystown at least once!) for the bar life and fun times. Lincoln Park and Old Town are a bit more yuppy, but they are my favorite areas to live. I love the old brownstones! Wicker Park, aka hipster central, is super popular for vintage shops, bars and entertainment. River North is the hip, urban neighborhood with a booming night life and the West Loop developed a top notch foodie scene. Make sure to spend some quality time with its Randolph street restaurants. Because I am lazy, I do not often venture there, but these neighborhoods are also worth exploring: Pilsen, with its vibrant murals and rich Mexican influence is a good one. Hyde Park, home of the renowned University of Chicago and Barack Obama, is also definitely worth the trip! Just a tip though, rely on a car or take the Metra (the commuter rail system) as they can be hard to reach with the CTA.

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After writing this, I realize I have so much more to write about Chicago, so bear with me through the summer!

 

How to make Twins Dutch braid.

This week I’d like share with you this hair tutorial. I usually wear this kind of hairstyle at work and many of my colleagues ask me how to do it… So here are all my secrets!

 I hope you enjoy it!

Going to Cannes is a great idea!

I wanted to congratulate my boyfriend for his promotion and celebrate his birthday, so I surprised him with a two-day stay in Cannes including spa, mojitos, beach time… all the things he and I love.

There are many incredible places in the world and Cannes is one of them. Here are some reasons why I enjoyed it so much, and why it’s a perfect destination for a weekend with your significant other.

  • The incredible views

In Cannes you’ve got many rooftops and terraces overlooking the sea. Most of the time they are hotel bars or restaurants. We were staying at the Radisson Blu Hotel, and it offers two great view points: the first one was a bar restaurant with a panoramic view on the beaches and the port.

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The second one was the rooftop pool and Jacuzzi that we enjoyed a lot in the afternoon. It was not as high up as the bar/restaurant but it was my favorite part of this hotel.

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  • The window shopping

We took a walk on La Croisette, the famous promenade overlooking the beach, and gazed at the luxury shops windows. I loved the atmosphere of this place, with the sunshine, the palm trees and the palaces surrounding this beautiful avenue. I also enjoyed looking at the Chanel’s, Dior’s and Yves Saint Laurent’s new collections with dreamy eyes. I fell in love again with the Michael Kors shop, which is a bit more affordable, and I am now coveting this pair of sunglasses.

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  • The private beaches

While on vacation, I particularly appreciate having lunch or dinner at the beach. Cannes is full of really nice private beaches that make you feel like you are on a paradise island.

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We went to a few beaches, my favorite was the Cristal Beach on the West side of the port. I loved the menu and the decor with the banana trees. We rented lounging chairs for the afternoon. It is so enjoyable to take a nap lulled by the sound of the sea.

  • No need for a car

When we arrived, we parked the car and did not move it until we left. It’s a real pleasure not being stuck in traffic or having to look for a parking spot for 20 minutes while on vacation. Cannes is a small city where you can get to almost everything by foot.

  • Being there in the low season

Going to the French Riviera in May has its advantages. We were there at the perfect time, ten days before the Cannes film festival. In May, the weather is great most of the time.  The temperature allows you to enjoy the pool or lie on your towel and get a tan. Because the tourists have not yet arrived, there is always an available lounging chair on the first row at the beach, or available tables at restaurants, and the sidewalks are not yet crowded. We are used to planning and booking everything in advance, so it was quite relaxing to choose our activities at the last minute without having to worry that it may be overbooked.
To end this article, here is a little Vlog.

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TRY ON HAUL #01

Hi guys!

Today I’d like to show you my very first haul video. I am very excited to share my last shopping spree with you all!

Hope you’ll like it and excuse me in advance for my language skills. I am sure you will be able to witness my progress along this blog adventure.

Here are all the links for the items I shared with you:

  • The white top is available here
  • The off the shoulder top is here (I couldn’t find the same color as mine on the website, but I linked the same model)
  • You can find the blue dress here
  • The scallopped short is available here
  • The tulip short from Ivyrevel is here
  • The bikini is available here

 

Tips for traveling alone

Last month, at almost thirty years old, I took a trip by myself for the first time. I was a bit nervous, because I had never done things like eat at a restaurant by myself or be alone in an unknown environment.

It wasn’t so much that I was worried about my safety. I fly alone frequently and I have traveled quite a bit. It was more that I was uncomfortable appearing alone in public places, or being alone with my thoughts for days! When I told some of my friends about it, I received very mixed reactions. Some of them said that they could never do it, while others seemed surprised and even made me feel silly for feeling weird about it at all. Only my friend Christine told me that while she dreaded it at first, she ended up loving it. She was right. Traveling alone was exhilarating. Here are some tips that definitely made my life easier.

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Fossil Passport Holder (similar)
  • Plan ahead

This seems like a no-brainer, but when you are alone, you want to avoid getting lost or ending up in potentially dangerous situations. I recommend mapping your itinerary and doing some research on places to visit and where to go. I asked my friends who knew DC for recommendations and used Google Maps to chart everything before heading out of the hotel. I also made sure I researched the restaurants I went to, to ensure I could sit at a bar, since I didn’t want to be alone at a table. I hate waiting so this was definitely one of the perks of the trip: when you are alone, you can do things you want at your own pace.

  • Bring books (or magazines, or your tablet)

I used to love reading and would spend most of my vacations as a kid going through books. Unfortunately as a gown-up, I often don’t have time to read and I waste too much time on social media to be able to pick-up a book at night. This was a welcome opportunity to catch up on some books I had been meaning to read and I loved being alone in my bubble enjoying a story.

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This is also great if you feel anxious at the idea of being alone and awkward in public, and so much more refined than being sucked into your phone! If you don’t like to read, you can always get a magazine, play games or watch movies on your tablet.

  • Get ready to talk to strangers

I am a fairly sociable person, and decided that the best way to not feel awkward, when being alone in places like bars, was to strike up a conversation. (In this case, you should probably drop the book). Usually, people tend to talk to you more if you look like you are alone anyways. As long as you seem open to it, you can end up meeting really interesting people along the way. Some of them are also be traveling by themselves. As grown-ups we don’t really get many chances to randomly meet new people, so why not enjoy it?

  • Prepare a playlist

Since you do not have anybody to talk to, I recommend making a playlist, which will set the mood of your trip. I personally was into my Big Little Lies phase (seriously, if you haven’t watched the series, you should!) so I played this. It kept me company as I walked, and I know this is silly, but I almost felt like I was starring in my own movie! So pick something you like that makes you feel good and get going!

  • Treat yourself!

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Although I mentioned it briefly in some parts of this blog, I think this last point is worth having its own paragraph: since you are alone, you can do whatever you want! So pick the type of food you love, take long walks if you love to walk, or take a taxi if you hate walking. Have your favorite drink, watch a sunset, sit out in the sun or go for a run. Just do things for you. You don’t have to compromise with a friend, significant other, work schedule, or a family request. You made it alone all the way here, so enjoy yourself!

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Our hair care routine

May: When I was a teenager I used to torture my hair! I went through many colors and hairstyles, used many chemicals and totally damaged my hair … I even bleached my  hair blonde… Seriously, don’t ask what was going through my head! Thankfully, reason came back to me and today I take very good care of my hair… It is my way to ask for its forgiveness.

Laura: In this hair matter, I am actually quite different from May. I have always had healthy, naturally thick hair and I have always been paranoid about damaging it, so I never really had a “bad hair phase,” if you discount the red streaks I had in 9th grade. But even then, I got them done professionally and it never really damaged my hair. My hair routine has been set for many years and it is pretty consistent.

  • Good habits

May: Just like for your skin, having great hair is not only about great products, it’s also about great habits.

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The first of them is to not over wash it. In my case I wash my hair two or three times a week and I only shampoo once and use one conditioner. You don’t need to shampoo your hair twice if the first time is effective and your hair is not too dirty. Before applying the shampoo I twist my hair so the shampoo is less diluted and more effective. The more you wash your hair, the faster it will become greasy.  If I really need to I also use dry shampoo, but it is pretty rare.

You should also rotate your shampoo and conditioner. Your hair has different needs depending on the season, your lifestyle, your diet and the state of your health. Changing shampoos means switching cleaning bases and giving your hair the care adapted to its evolving needs.

Laura: As far as washing hair goes, my habits are pretty similar as May’s above. However, I will add that if I have sweated a lot during a workout for example, I have no qualms about washing my hair twice, usually with two different shampoos.

I also try to avoid using heat whenever possible. I usually let my hair air dry, except in the winter. Remember, I live in Chicago! When I do use heat, I am careful and use products to protect my hair. I also try to vary my hairstyles and not leave my hair up all the time to avoid breakage with elastic bands. In a nutshell, my rule is to leave my hair as natural and free when I do not have anywhere to be to compensate for when I have to style it.

  • Natural Products

May: I have my very favorite shampoos. I wanted to try natural products and I fell in love with a shampoo by Lush; a shampoo bar, to be more specific. I love it because it foams and washes well, and it is very economical. I was a bit skeptical when the teller told me one shampoo bar equals three bottles of shampoo, but it actually does. Well, at one condition: you have to place it in a little container (you can buy one at Lush) to protect the shampoo from the water of your shower when you don’t use it. Of course you can reuse the container every time you buy a new shampoo bar.

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My other big favorite one is Repaire-me.Wash by Kevin Murphy, it makes my hair so smooth, and I love the smell.  On top of that it’s paraben free, sulfate free and not tested on animals. For their products they use a lot of essential oils and natural extracts.

As far as conditioners go, my favorite of the moment it 3 minutes miracles from Aussie. It’s one of the most efficient conditioners I have ever used. It repairs and softens your hair in 3 minutes.

Laura: I usually alternate between Aveda shampure™ shampoo and conditioner, and (MALIN + GOETZ) peppermint shampoo and cilantro conditioner. I like the latter combination when my hair feels a bit dryer. Lately, I noticed in pharmacies the Whole Blands brand by Garnier, which is not new at all for me because it has existed in France for years under the name Ultra Doux. I used to love this line by Garnier when I lived in France, so I gave the Whole Blends Olive Oil a try. I like that it is silicone and Paraben free, and the smell always reminds me of home.

What’s important to me when I select a shampoo and conditioner are the components, but also how my hair feels after a wash. I hate it when it feels heavy as if it has some greasy residue. I like to use the same brand of shampoo and conditioner because they are usually designed to work in combination with each other.

I also love using Argan oil on my hair. Usually I use the spray by Organix, especially when using hot tools or if my hair has been exposed to sun or salt. In the midst of summer I also love to use Tahiti Monoi from Tiare flower. I love the smell and apply it on my skin and hair for hydration and smoothness. Can’t wait for the beach!

  • More

May: Caring for your hair is not limited to the kind of products you use in the shower. Every day I apply a nut of oil on it (I alternate between different ones such as Orofluido Elixir , Silk Infusin or Nuxe Sun during the summer)

Once every two weeks or once a month I give my hair a home treatment. It helped a lot when my hair was burnt due to over bleaching.  I apply olive oil and leave it on my hair at least an hour. My friend told me she sleeps with it. It makes for better results, of course, but it’s complicated since you have to wrap your head in saran wrap so that you don’t stain your bed. Some people also mix olive oil with honey… why not?

Laura: I have made a crazy discovery: there is a hair care caviar product line! I got samples at Sephora, and fell in love with their CC Cream. It really does the ten things it promises, and my hair feels amazing after it. Full disclosure: I am conservative about the amount I use and only apply to the tips up until half of my hair length. It can weigh your hair down if you use too much of it.

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Things I discovered in Berlin

Hallo Leute!

I just came back from a three-day stay in Berlin with my mother and it was so much fun. We went to very popular and touristic places such as the Brandenburg gate, the Bundestag (German Parliament) and of course the famous Checkpoint Charlie.

Berlin has surprised me in many ways and that’s what I want to share with you in this article.

The wall is everywhere in the city

Of course you can’t go to Berlin without seeing the wall. I was so moved to be in front of such a huge part of history. For the record, the wall circled West Berlin from 1961 to 1989, it was 154km (96 miles) long with 302 observations towers.

In my imagination, the wall was only visible in some specific places in Berlin. I didn’t expect to see parts of the wall displayed everywhere in the city. I even saw some parts of it in shops or on display in some streets. Basically, the wall was chopped in pieces and these pieces were placed in different parts of Berlin as small memorials.

Today, only a few small stretches of the wall remain at the original Berlin sites. There is the famous East Side Gallery, which is the longest standing wall section (1.3 km/ 0.6miles). One hundred and eighteen artists from 21 different countries painted on the wall, making it the biggest street art exhibition.

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I was most interested by the last intact part of the wall, near Bernauer Straße. You can clearly see the “no man’s land” between the two walls, where nobody was allowed to be. Human presence there was considered a legal offense: any intruder was to be shot down by one or other of the factions.

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The history of Berlin is so interesting, you can click here to find out more about the wall.

The polemic during the work of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Near the famous Brandenburg gate is this very powerful memorial honoring the 6 million Holocaust victims. It is made of 2711 concrete concrete slabs on 19 000 square meters and no two slabs are exactly the same. The place made a strong impression on me, even though it is very simple and modern looking, it is very solemn. There is also a museum about the Holocaust under the memorial.

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When the memorial was being built, a scandal broke out. The supplier of the anti-graffiti coating applied to the slabs is no other than Degussa, the same company that produced Zyklon B, a gas used in Nazi extermination camps. In the end, the company’s important involvement for the conservation and tribute of the tragedy since the end of the war contributed to end the polemic.

Don’t worry about public transportation

While preparing my trip, I asked my German friend for information about Berlin. When the transportation came up she told me “Oh! you don’t have to worry about it in Berlin” and she changed the topic. It’s only when I arrived that I understood. All the lines, buses, trams, metro are so well organized and frequent (we never waited more than five minutes) and very cheap on top of it (7€ for an unlimited day-pass).

Speaking about the price, I was surprised that there were no turnstiles and you can board the subway without any control. I really appreciated that German people rely on trust.

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In fact, I discovered that everyday, all the tubes and buses together travel about the same distance as eight times around the Earth. The subway in Berlin was inaugurated in 1902, and although some stations look really old, everything is very clean.

One of the highest towers of Europe

At a height of 368 meters, the Berliner Fernsehturm (Television Tower) is the tallest building in Germany and one of the tallest constructions in Europe. I was so surprised to find out that the Fernsehturn tower is higher than the Eiffel Tower.

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It was built between 1965 and 1969 by the government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). The Tower was a symbol of the party, it was built to display the superiority of communism over capitalism, it was intended to show that the East was working to create a better future. Also, the shape of the tower was supposed to mirror the shape of the soviet satellite Sputnik.

Forty percent of the city is underground

The city is almost double the size than it appears thanks to a huge underground railway station and many of the World War II bunkers, escape tunnels, sewers and brewery cellars. Tourists can visit the underground world of Berlin. The association Berliner Unterwelten organizes different tours of the various bunkers.

I was so excited to go on one of their tours, but unfortunately they take place from Friday to Monday… and we were in Berlin from Tuesday to Thursday.

Ruins as a memory of the war

Berlin underwent 363 Allied air raids during World War II, so the city was in ruins. If nowadays Berlin is a beautiful city, some buildings and monuments are still in ruins. However, in most cases, Berliners made a conscious decision to keep them that way so that they never forget what they overcame.

The most emblematic and most relevant of all is the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, built in the 1890’s and badly damaged by bombing raids in 1943.

Although a large majority of the building was renovated, some parts of it remain damaged by the bombing, like the statue in ruins at the entrance for example.

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Gala Ready!

Every year my workplace organizes one gala evening called the “Soirée,” which is our biggest fundraiser of the year. This event gives me the opportunity  to find the perfect gown, because let’s face it, I do not often have the chance to go all out and dress like a princess! Since it just took place this past Saturday, I would like to describe what I wore and give you tips on how to get ready for a formal event.

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A few years ago, I discovered this amazing website that was a game changer for me. It is called Rent the Runway.  You can rent a designer gown for 4 or 8 days at a fraction of the purchase price. They ship your dress in two sizes to make sure it fits you, and if it does not, the customer service is incredible. Once, they overnighted a dress to my home after mine got stolen on my porch after being delivered. If something happens to the model you order, they will send you something similar instead. That means you always have options. So far, I used them four times and I never had to wear a dress that didn’t fit or that I did not like. Some of my friends don’t like spending money on a dress you don’t get to keep, but I don’t mind because I would never wear this type of gown twice anyways. I also can’t afford to drop a thousand dollars on a dress for one evening per year.

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Last year, Rent the Runway opened a store in Chicago. I wanted to go and try dresses in person for this year’s Soirée, but I got sick with the flu. Since I had to stay in bed for five days, I decided to order online again. I went for a golden dress which is not typical for me, as I usually wear black or red.

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The issue with wearing this type of color in April in Chicago, is that there is little sunlight and I could not tan. To remedy that, I use MicroMist® Airbrush Sunless Tan by Neutrogena every day for the 5 days preceding the Gala, so that my skin looks naturally sun kissed.

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My nails were next. I waited to receive my dress to determine which color I was going to select. I opted for neutral. Two days before the Soirée, I went to my favorite nail place to get a no-chip manicure, a pedicure, and I threw in a brow wax as well. You want to make sure that you do the wax at least a couple days before an event, in case your skin gets irritated. I have very sensitive skin that immediately gets red and a little puffy after waxing. You have to give your skin time to recover.

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On the day of the Gala, I took the entire afternoon to get ready starting with my hair and make-up. The dress reminded me a bit of Belle’s in Beauty and the Beast, so I decided to channel her and went for a half updo with curls. For make-up, I used my Kat Von D Shade + Light contour palette  for contouring, which is perfect for amateurs like me, and selected neutral colors with a hint of gold for my eyes. I used the Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Palette.

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The downside of this dress was the ample cleavage, so I used Hollywood Fashion Tape to keep everything in place. The last thing I wanted was to have a Janet Jackson moment at a work event! In the end, my hard work was rewarded. I received tons of compliments and had so much fun dancing through the night!

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