Thursday 20 October 2016

Nice to see you again

The view from our room at the Hyatt Regency in Nice

Leo loves sleeping in hotel beds

I actually ate one of these.. and it wasn't as disgusting as I expected it to be..

Happy faces after dinner at Chez Freddy
Dessert heaven at La Maison de Marie
Back in Nice for the second time this year and of course our first dinner stop was Chez Freddy! They make the best branzino baked in salt. The second evening our concierge at the hotel reccomended La Maison de Marie for dinner. It was a beautiful restaurant with great food, but the best part of our dinner was the dessert, which was delicious!

Wine tasting at Tenuta Torciano

It has been rainging pretty much every day since we got back to Florence and one of my favorite things to do here on a rainy day is to drive to San Gimignano and have lunch at my favorite winery, Tenuta Torciano. They serve the most amazing wines paired with a delicious four course lunch. From starting with a plate of salad, prosciutto and cheese, which is served with Tenuta Torcianos' own olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar and paired with a white Vernaccia wine and two light chianti classico reds and working our way up to the homemade lasagna with a drizzle of truffle oil on top and a few glasses of Brunello di Montalcino, there's really nothing I could complain about. 
I can't wait to go back!!!

Wednesday 14 September 2016

DIY Turmeric face mask

DIY turmeric face mask

Turmeric has been used in food and as a herbal remedy for over 4000 years throughout Asia (mainly in India and China) but has just recently gained popularity in Europe and the western countries thanks to numerous researches that has confirmed it's health benefits.
The active compound that gives turmeric its' golden color is called Curcumin. Curcumin is highly anti inflammatory and helps relieve pain, so if you, like I, suffer from chronic pain, try adding turmeric to your daily intake without getting the toxicity that normal anti inflammatory drugs contain. I try to add turmeric and ginger to every home cooked meal I make and have noticed how my chronic pain occurs less and a decrease in the pain level.
But this miracle spice is not only good for the health, it also works wonders on the skin! One of my favourite face masks is not a store bought product, it's the one I make myself with 3-4 simple ingredients (the 4th, coconut oil, is optional) that most of us already have at home. This amazing face mask is rich in anti oxidants, helps fights acne, gently removes dead skin and cleans pores, brightens dark circles around the eyes and gives a healthy glow to the face, treats wrinkles and helps slow down unwanted facial hair growth.

Here's how to make it:

Mix together in a small bowl:

1/2 tsp organic turmeric powder
1 tsp organic honey
1 tbs plain natural yogurt
1 tsp organic coconut oil (optional)

Apply to face with a clean makeup brush, making sure the paste doesn't get on your hairline or eyebrows, and leave on for 15-20 minutes. Before washing your face with lukewarm water, try to scrub your face in gentle circular motions to exfoliate the skin and then use a paper towel or makeup wipe to remove the mask. 
But be careful! Do not wear any fancy clothing when you use turmeric, it will stain!
Btw, the reason why I add coconut oil to my mask is because I love how hydrated and soft my face feels after. It does however, make the mask a bit messy since the oil tends to travel and drip.

If you have leftovers, refrigerate and use within a week! 

There are a lot of different versions on how to make a turmeric face mask, but this is the way I like it. Do you have any other DIY beauty tips? Let me know and I'll feature it on the blog!

Tuesday 13 September 2016

Le Vert Beauty

Just received my first order from! I ordered a pair of cruelty free silk lashes from Battington Lashes and I also got a few samples with my order which I am so excited to try out!

Wednesday 7 September 2016

New colors from NC Cosmetics

I just received my new order from NC Cosmetics! I have written about Michelle and her new makeup brand NC Cosmetics before and since I love her products so much I decided to order some more from her etsy shop! I decided to try some lighter shades of lipgloss and some fall inspired green eye shadows. I also got an eyeshadow primer which is great when using mineral eye shadows. The problem with mineral eye shadows is that they tend to spread out during the day and a primer will help fix the powder. Another thing I discovered about the eyeshadow primer from NC Cosmetics is that it really makes the colors pop, as you can see on the last picture in this post!

NC Cosmetics lipgloss and eye shadow

Lip Stain, left: Sky
Lipgloss, right: Nectar

My NC Cosmetics eyeshadow collection, from left to right,
1. Gold 2. Clay 3. Armed 4. Kryptonite

The eyeshadows with and without the eyeshadow primer. You can see how the primer intensifies the colors! A tip, dab an angles eyeliner brush in the primer and then in the eyeshadow to make a fun colored eyeliner!

Wednesday 24 August 2016

Newport Beach

ilia tinted moisturizer

Spent the weekend in Newport Beach with Joe and Leo and we stayed at the Island Hotel. What I love about Newport Beach is that most stores and boutiques on Fashion Island are dog friendly so I could take Leo shopping. 
Stopped by Anthropologie and discovered that they carry some of my favorite organic makeup brands like Ilia and RMS beauty, so I decided to add a new product to my makeup bag, the Ilia tinted moisturizer. I really like this product, it doesn't give as full of a coverage as a foundation but if you want a moisturizer that revitalizes and hydrates the skin while giving a bit of color to your face, this is the perfect fit. It also has SPF 20 so it's great for hot summer days!

photoa photo b

Saturday 20 August 2016

DIY healthy dog treats

healthy dog treat recipe

Most of us know that sugar and garlic is bad for dogs and it surprises me how so many store bought dog treats contain those exact ingredients, and let's not forget about all the other additives they put in there to make the treats "tastier" and cheaper to produce. Even though there are natural and organic options, they are usually more expensive, so I decided to make my own! It's actually really simple and Leo loved them!

Here's the recipe:

1 cup oat flour 
1 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (I used a mix of cheddar and mozzarella)
1/3 teaspoon turmeric powder (for color but also for health benefits*)
1 egg
1/2 - 1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together except for the water. Add the water little by little until it becomes a dough. Roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to cut out the treats or form them with your hands like i did (I do not own a cookie cutter). Line a pan with baking paper or just smear some coconut oil on the pan so that the cookies don't stick. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes and then let them cool down. 
You can store them in Ziploc bags in the fridge for a couple of days or freeze them!

*Turmeric side note: Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory effects, which is very beneficial for senior dogs with arthritis and joint pain. Research has also shown that turmeric can lower bad cholesterol levels and support heart and liver health.
Turmeric also has a detox-effect on the liver and helps to boost the livers ability to get rid of toxins from the body. Last but not least, turmeric has anti-cancer properties!!! 
Click here if you want to read more about turmeric and it's health benefits for your dog.

Thursday 4 August 2016

Best friend pampering

Even our four legged furry friends need some chemical free pampering. Since dogs have a different Ph level than us humans, we can't use the same shampoo on them as we use for ourselves. You might think that the gentle organic shampoo you use to clean your hair would work great on your puppy too but the truth is; using a human shampoo on a dog can cause a rash, skin irritation, dull hair and flaky, itchy skin. 
I have tried a lot of different pet grooming brands and I have finally found the perfect match for my spoiled Pomeranian, Leo. I actually find this shampoo, Doggie Sudz by Austin Rose Inc, to be even better than the normal chemical filled pet shampoos. It doesn't smell a lot, it's vegan certified and is gentle enough to be used as often as you need. All i need to clean Leo's fur is a small teaspoon of shampoo and since he has long and fluffy fur that easily tangles, the fact that this shampoo conditions as well is a great time saver and leaves his fur beautiful, shiny and soft. 

... And how cute is the bottle?!?

Wednesday 3 August 2016

Essential Oils and Sun Sensitivity

essential oils and sun sensitivity

Essential oils are used in a lot of natural products, not only for health benefits but also as natural fragrances, however there are a few oils you have to be careful with wearing out during summer time. I recently got a request from a friend to write about essential oils and the way they react in sunshine. The reason behind the request was that after using a natural body lotion containing essential oils she noticed white spots and burns on her legs.
You might think that using a natural beauty product is safe especially since some oils, like lavender and chamomile, are known to ease sunburn, but there are in fact some oils that do the exact opposite. 
Even though essential oils are natural some of them contain components that are highly phototoxic. Phototoxicity basically means that they are sensitive to sunlight and absorb the UV rays more intensely and therefore can cause serious burns or spots in the pigmentation.

essential oils and sun sensitivity list

As you can see, most of the essential oils extracted from citrus fruits are phototoxic and the Bergamot is the most well known. Bergamot contains bergaptene which is a chemical able to absorb ultraviolet light, however there are bergaptene-free oils which are safe to use in the sun, just make sure the product you are using is listed bergaptene-free on the bottle.

Sunday 24 July 2016

Evening Routine

When you find the right products, your evening routine doesn't have to be a complicated, time consuming procedure. I use these 4 simple steps before getting my beauty sleep at night:

1. I brush my teeth with a toothpaste called Biorepair which is free from flouride, titanium dioxide, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and parabens.

2. Wipe of my eye makeup with organic coconut oil.

3. Wash my face with a goat milk soap bar. I have tried a few different brands but my absolute favourite so far is the Goat's milk & Chai Soap from Nubian Heritage. The goat's milk gently cleanses the face and leaves the skin feeling soft and hydrated. 

4.  I use an organic face oil from Suti as my nightly moisturiser. All I need is 3 drops of this fabulous oil made out of avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, Jasmin and Patchouli. It is a rather pricey oil but I have had this 30 ml bottle since November, so it will last a long time.

Monday 27 June 2016

Naturally Colorful Cosmetics- By Michelle Lina Patti

Now this is something that I am really excited about! 
Naturally Colorful Cosmetics, an all natural makeup line made in Florence, Italy, by my friend Michelle Patti.
A few days ago I sat down with Michelle to talk about her new adventure in the makeup industry and why she chose to take the all-natural path. Here is her story:

" I started the line while in need of inspiration,
and wanted to create a world for myself where
I could be messy, artistic and colorful.
The added bonus to the former is that I have
the opportunity to incorporate my love of invention, chemistry and design to this adventure.
I invent and modify the recipes in order to offer
you a high-quality, all natural product which
is gentle enough for all different skin types."

- Michelle Lina Patti
Founder of Naturally Colorful Cosmetics

What I love about Naturally Colorful Cosmetics is the simple ingredient list. Michelle uses only a few ingredients in her products for a maximum healthy and natural result that is gentle enough for all different skin types and the ingredient list is very simple. In other words, you don't have to google the names of the ingredients to understand what the product is made of. 

All Lip gloss and Lip Stains are infused with vitamin A and E, which leaves them hydrated and soft. The difference between the lip stain and gloss is that the stain has a thicker consistency with a fuller cover and rich colors, while the gloss is thinner and has a great shine. 
I use the stain for a dramatic look and the gloss for a romantic natural effect. Either way, you'll end up with kissable lips with both products!

Michelle also makes mineral blush and eye shadows in all different types of shades. The best part about these mineral powders is that they are versatile. Mixed with water they can be used as vibrant eye liners, the golden shade can be used as a highlighter and if used as-are they give a really natural and subtle look.

If you want to know more about the line you can follow michelles instagram page @nc_cosmetics_by_mlpatti
or visit her etsy store.

Wednesday 1 June 2016


For most of you, summer has just arrived or is just around the corner, which means vacation, beach days and fun in the sun! Now, most of us know how important it is to keep our skin protected from the sun and even though sunscreen consumption is higher than ever, the skin cancer rate is at the same time increasing. In fact, scientist have found very little evidence that sunscreen prevents most forms of skin cancer. 
So here are a few things to think about before heading to the beach.

Most of the sunscreens contain ingredients like oxybenzone and retinyl palmite. Oxybenzone is UV filter but also a hormone disruptor and allergen. Retinyl palmite is an antioxidant that fights skin aging. It is also a form of vitamin A that can be harful for the skin. Studies show that it may cause development of skin tumors and lesions when applied to the skin while exposed to sunlight. Despite these evidence, sunscreen products are still allowed to claim they help prevent skin cancer.

Don't be fooled by high-SPF sunscreens. Just because a sunscreen might have an SPF rate of 50+ doesn't mean that you shouldn't apply it as often as an SPF 15. In fact, higher SPF ratings don't offer that much of a bigger protection.

Stay away from sprays. Sunscreen sprays are very popular but pose an inhalation risk and may not provide a thick and even enough coating to protect the skin.

Find a sunscreen that protects from UVB and UVA rays. Not all sunscreens offer a protection for all types of UV damage. High-energy UVB rays only make up 3-5 % of the UV radiation that strikes the earth. UVB rays primarily burn the skin and cause damage to the skin DNA, however, a good sunscreen should also protect the skin from lower-energy UVA rays that penetrate deep into the skins dermis (the thickest layer of the skin).

EWG just released their 10th annual sunscreen guide  where you can find more information about sunscreens and ratings of the best and worst sunscreen products. 

I am currently using a natural / biodegradable sunscreen from Caribbean Solutions with the SPF 15, who also have a great self tanner to safely enhance your tan or keep you bronzed all year round. 
To protect my lips from getting burned I use Hurraw! Sun Balm with SPF 15.

My Sunscreen Products

Tuesday 31 May 2016

The old town in Nice

 My favorite part of Nice is the Old Town and it's beautiful farmers market and local restaurants. The first night we had an amazing dinner at a fish restaurant called Chez Freddy. I think might have been the best fish I've ever had.

Sunday 29 May 2016

To Travel is to Live

Just arrived back in Florence from a quick get-away to Nice, France, which is why I haven't been updating the blog these few days. I will post pictures from our trip in the coming days. In the mean time, here is a memory from last year when Joe and I went to Lebanon for a long weekend to see family and friends. We stayed at the White Lace Resort in Jbeil. I love Lebanon and can't wait to be back there in just a few days!

Wednesday 25 May 2016

What's in your deodorant?

Do you know the ingredients in your deodorant? Take a closer look at the label and make sure it doesn't contain any of these nasty ingredients.

1. Aluminium compounds

The aluminium compounds used in deodorant, such as aluminium chlorohydrate and aluminium zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly, clogs your pores and therefore prevents sweating. However, aluminium has been linked with Alzheimers and can interfere with your esterogene levels and there are studies that linked the increasing deodorant use and rising rates of female breast cancer and prostate cancer in men.

2. Parabens

There's a reason why a lot of products are labeled "Paraben Free" these days. Parabens can be found in cosmetics and deodorants and is a synthetic preservative, but it is also one of the most harmful ingredients in our skin care products. Parabens can mimic the esterogen in the body and disrupt the hormonal balance which has been linked to hormonal cancers, early puberty in children, birth defects and organ toxicity.

3. Propylene Glycol

Propylene Glycol is a petroleum based material with a smooth consistency. It is a cheap way of softening cosmetic products to make them easier to apply to the skin. Studies have shown that Propylene Glycol, in large quantities, can cause damage to the central nervous system, liver and heart.

4. Phtalates

Another chemical group that is used in cosmetics, skin care and perfumes. Phtalates are used to dissolve other ingredients and create a smoother consistency. Phtalates have been linked with birth defects, disruption of hormone receptors and an increase in the likelihood of cell mutation.

5. Triclosan

Used as the odor killing part of deodorants and for it's anti-bacterial properties. Triclosan can also be found in antibacterial soaps, hand wipes and gels, but what a lot of people don't know is that it is also classified as a pesticide by the FDA and as a probable carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Needless to say, do we really need to put these chemicals on our bodies? Look for deodorants based on mineral salts with active ingredients, such as ammonium or potassium alum, which constrict the protein in sweat so that bacteria has less to feed on.

I have tried a bunch of different deodorants and have found one that works great all year around. It is a mineral deodorant from a brand called Finesse, you can buy it at any Eataly store or here

Saturday 21 May 2016

In Vino Veritas - Harry's Bar Firenze

Oh Harry's Bar, how I have missed you! Let's start off with a glass of rosé, the beef tartare and then move on to the "Sergio" pasta and the baked taglierini. 

I'm in love with the Coco....nut oil

It's no secret that I am addicted to coconut oil. I mean, I recently purchased a 1,2 kg container of coconut oil from Costco and I have already used half of it.
Coconut oil is almost 90% saturated fat, but don't worry, the saturated fat is mostly lauric acid which doesn't have a negative effect on the heart as other saturated fats found in meats and dairy products. Lauric acids also have antibacterial properties and antioxidants which will give your skin a healthy boost. 

 So I thought I would list a few of my favourite uses in hope of spreading some inspiration to you all. 

1. Cooking. The obvious one, use it as a cooking oil or even substitute butter with coconut oil in your favourite baking recipes.

2. Makeup remover. Apply some oil on a cotton pad and you get a gentle makeup remover that will erase all traces of makeup. 

3. Eye- and Night cream. If you are worrying about not being able to get rid of the excess coconut oil from the makeup remover routine I listed above, worry no more! Coconut oil is light enough for the sensitive skin around your eyes and does wonders for under eye bags and dark circles. And if you want to go a step further, apply some more oil to your face before going to bed for a maximum moisturiser. The antioxidants are great for smoothing fine lines and wrinkles and the antibacterial properties will clean your face from all impurities. 

4. Hair mask. Apply some oil to damp hair and leave in for 15-20 minutes to treat damaged and dry hair. Shampoo and rinse. This is also a great way to treat dandruff since the oil will also hydrate a dry scalp. I use this method for my Pomeranian as well which leaves his fur shiny and healthy.

5. Body oil. Dry skin? Just apply some coconut oil or if you are a DIY expert, make your own body lotion.

6. Shaving cream. Why use a normal shaving cream when you can use coconut oil that not only helps to get a closer shave but at the same time moisturises and soothes the skin.

7. Itch relief and after-sun oil. If you have an itch, bug bite or a rash, apply some coconut oil to sooth the irritated skin. You can also use it as an after-sun oil to calm sun burnt skin and moisturise.

8. SPF. Since natural and zinc oxide and titanium dioxide based sun blocks can be hard to apply on the body I recommend mixing it with some coconut oil. Coconut oil  has a natural SPF 4 which makes it a perfect ingredient to your sun block, however I do not recommend using only coconut oil as your protection. 

9. Frizz tamer. To tame your frizzy hair, work a little bit of coconut from the middle of your hair to the ends.

10. Energy boost. A teaspoon of coconut oil will give you the extra energy you need during the day. Add some to your water, smoothie, spread it on a toast or simply as is.

So there you go, instead of buying different types of beauty products get a jar of coconut oil, just remember to always buy unrefined coconut oil!

Saturday 14 May 2016

Ivy at the Shore

Before leaving to Florence we had lunch at my favorite lunch spot in Santa Monica, Ivy at the Shore. The location is amazing, right on Ocean Avenue and the food is to die for. The lobster pizza is a must and nothing beats the banana split.