L’Occitane En Provence Visit

Sponsored Post 

L'Occitane Store in CityPlace

Earlier this week, I was invited to tour the L’Occitane CityPlace store. I was familiar with the brand, but I had never used their products before, so I was curious. I usually don’t respond to emails from PR companies, but this was right up my alley – beauty products from a reputable brand – sure, count me in!

When I arrived, I was greeted by the store manager, Dionne and another employee, Stephanie. They were both gracious hostesses, and proceeded to educate me on the history of the brand, their product lines, and upcoming events. I simply love connecting with people who are passionate about what they do, and these women were no exception – they knew their stuff!

When a guest walks in to any of their stores, they can opt to enjoy a mini facial, a hand massage, or a fragrance ritual – in which you are taught how to lay fragrances. 80% of their products are paraben-free, and they do not test on animals. I’m also happy to report they carry deodorants that do not contain aluminum – more on this topic in an upcoming post – but guys, that’s a big deal.

Here are other highlights from my visit:

1 copy 2

 

  1. When you receive a facial, they test skin’s hydration level using a hydration pen. I was relieved to discover my face was in the normal range.
  2. Did you know their best-selling product is their hand cream? One is sold every 3 seconds around the world!
  3. They just launched the Aromachologie Relaxing & Revitalizing Body Collection last week. The relaxing collection uses soothing lavender, perfect to use after a long day.
  4. On September 4th, all L’Occitane stores are hosting a Party in Provence event. The event includes specialty refreshments, complimentary beauty rituals, and a special gift with any $65 purchase.

The ladies at L’Occitane were kind enough to gift me a Divine Cream and an Essential Water toner. I began using them last night, and I must confess, I am obsessed!

I was pleased with everything L’Occitane had to offer, I am so glad I accepted their invitation. I will probably be using their products for a long-time to come, and will definitely be returning to stock up on some beauty essentials.

If you have a L’Occitane store near you, I suggest you stop by on September 4th and join their Party in Provence event. If you’re in the West Palm Beach area, stop by their CityPlace location or give them a call to book an appointment for a beauty ritual. Dionne or Stephanie can be reached at (561) 835-1361.

Sponsored Post Disclosure: I received promotional consideration such as gifts, samples, content, or other incentives related to the brand mentioned in this post. My review of the store, products, and overall experience is 100% honest. I will not mention or support a brand I do not like or believe in. 

Cool People I Know: Meet Christine Johnson

kiki water truck

This series is all about sharing with you some of the cool people I know. The individuals you’ll meet here are truly special. They’ll share what inspires them, what has changed them, what they know about life, and how they got to where they are today.

Meet Christine:

My name is Christine Johnson. I am a photographer, mother, traveller, and seeker of what genuinely makes me feel happy and at peace with myself and that which surrounds me.

What circumstances led you to your profession?

Sixteen years ago, I found myself in a place I would never have expected. I was pregnant, single, a little spoiled, and faced with the fact that was about to dig myself out of a very difficult reality. Before that, I had been a model for many years and did tons of different little jobs – all in search of my passion. I never found it until I was faced with the fact that I was about to become a mother with no husband, a truckload of debt, and no apparent options. I started shooting. I learned from my mentor, John Hall. He taught me that there were no short cuts. I listened, I made the same mistakes over and over, then out of the blue, I would get it. I did this for years. I always underpriced myself, so that I didn’t add the stress to an already stressful situation – I was not always sure of what I was doing. To my absolute surprise I paid off all my debt, juggled my son beautifully between my mom, sister and his dad, and became an in-demand photographer making more than I would have dreamed. All doing something I love!

At one stage you are the best, most important, most sought after, and then you wake up to discover that you just made way for the new best, most important, most sought after.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by so much. I look and listen as much as I can. I am constantly reminding myself that when I’m in a conversation, to really listen to what someone has to say.  It is super obvious when someone does the same, it’s a nice exchange.  Visual inspiration? I’m from Phoenix, and while I appreciate the desert, I live in a city where inspiration isn’t thrown at you at every corner. You have to look for it and I like that. It’s more work, but maybe more satisfying. I also love to travel and I do it often. I have learned to establish clients all over. I love moving around.

What is one valuable thing you’ve learned in life?

I have learned that there are cycles to everything. At one stage you are the best, most important, most sought after, and then you wake up to discover that you just made way for the new best, most important, most sought after. I’ve experienced it in my business, through getting older, and a ton of smaller equally significant ways. My goal is to embrace the change rather than fight it. It’s tough, not holding on to the old and embracing the new. That is something I really am working on at this moment.

In 2008, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. The fear of the disease was far more intense than anything I have suffered physically.

Name one experience that has completely changed you.

In 2008, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. The fear of the disease was far more intense than anything I have suffered physically. I spent a couple of years totally depressed and full of fear about the future. What would this mean for work? I’m single and probably would be forever, etc. Today, my priorities are so much different. I’m not even sure that in the past I had specifics I was working on. I was crazy busy, making lots of money, always in a rush. I don’t live like that anymore. I really do stop and smell the roses. By the grace of God, everything is working out. As I write, I am here in the Hamptons in New York, photographing families on the beach for a couple of weeks. I would never had guessed this opportunity would have presented itself. A friend said it perfectly…believe in the magic of the moment!

What is your proudest moment?

My proudest moment, or moments, all revolve around my son. He is fifteen now, and one of my favorite people on the planet. As most parents hope for, all I want is for him is to be happy and kind. When I see him laughing or holding the door open for someone, it genuinely makes my heart sing. When I was younger, I would have answered this with success I had at work – but the people you love are really what matters.

Everything you do will lead directly to what you are supposed to do. It’s about accepting that cleaning out a garbage can for someone else, will serve you in ways you cannot anticipate. You never know who is watching your performance, no matter how insignificant it feels.

What’s your advice for someone who hasn’t found his or her way in the world?

Absolutely everything you do will lead directly to what you are supposed to do. It’s about accepting that cleaning out a garbage can for someone else, will serve you in ways you cannot anticipate. You never know who is watching your performance, no matter how insignificant it feels. I didn’t find my way until my thirties, under challenged circumstances. I don’t get disappointed when a job doesn’t come through or someone doesn’t like me. I have figured out that I probably dodged a situation that wouldn’t be good for me financially, creatively, or emotionally. Almost every time I have done something for the money, I regretted  it. If a choice is only for the money, it is sort of a sell out.  In work, like dating, you attract what you like and when you force something, its a bad fit and it brings a lot of heartache. Always be humble, and you don’t have to apologize! :)

Mind-blown! So many takeaways, it’s hard to choose only a couple of sentences to place in quotes. I simply love everything she said about not selling out for money. Also, when she mentioned emptying a garbage can, and not knowing how that will serve you, I strongly agree with that. Sometimes you just have to let yourself be led – trust that the rest will be orchestrated on your behalf. Thank you so much, Christine!

To learn more about Christine, visit her website, follow her on Instagram or Facebook. If anything in this post resonated with you or moved you, share with us in the comments, or reach out to Christine and let her know.

What’s In Your Bag, Nastassia?

Whats in your bag?

I’ve known Nastassia for over two years. We share similar interests – we dork out on cool outfits or accessories, awesome images of Friday Kahlo or Edie Sedgwick, and pop culture banter. She is someone whom I consider a friend. The funny thing is we’ve never met, and up until a week ago, I didn’t even know her name. You see, we’ve developed this amazing bond and friendship on Twitter and Instagram.

It’s simply crazy when I think about all of my friendships on social media – these friendships are real! To think I wouldn’t have some of these awesome women in my life if it weren’t for these networks.

But I digress. I happen to think Nastassia has great taste, so I thought it would be fun to see what’s in her bag. Here it is:

  1. Lanvin Happy flap bag
  2. Prada wallet
  3. Prada sunnies
  4. iPad Mini
  5. A copy of Porter magazine
  6. And a USB cord.

Check out Nastassia’s Tumblr or follow her on Twitter or Instagram to see her day to day musings.

Cool People I Know: Meet Robyn Baker

3W6A3497

This series is all about sharing with you some of the cool people I know. The individuals you’ll meet here are truly special. They’ll share what inspires them, what has changed them, what they know about life, and how they got to where they are today.

Meet Robyn:

My name is Robyn Baker. I am born and raised in Southern California, and have yet to leave. I am half German and half Japanese, so I am the original “axis of evil”. I am the founder and sole proprietor of Asteya Fitness. I primarily teach private Pilates sessions and personal training at my small studio and out of client’s homes. I also teach group classes at my friend’s studio. I wanted to create a space to work with clients that focused on their inner transformation, rather than the weight loss and the outward transformation, that is why I started Asteya Fitness.

What circumstances led you to your profession?

If you would have told me in high school that I would be working in the health and fitness industry as a “grown-up”, I probably would have slapped you across the face and called you crazy. I went to Orange County High School of the Arts with a focus in Musical Theater. I had a crazy passion (and still do) for performing. In my senior year, I developed anorexia nervosa; the deadliest of all psychological diseases. The uncertainty of moving on from high school to college, the intense pressure to do everything perfectly in order to succeed, and living in a home where my dad was a functioning alcoholic are the main reasons anorexia took over my life. My health quickly deteriorated, and at 18 years old I checked into the UCLA psychiatric ward for 2 months until my weight stabilized. I was still very under the control of my eating disorder when I discharged from treatment, and in college turned to exercise as a way to control my weight.

The intense pressure to do everything perfectly in order to succeed, and living in a home where my dad was a functioning alcoholic are the main reasons anorexia took over my life.

I was still very much underweight and thought if I regained muscle instead of fat it would make to process less torturous. Exercise quickly became a way to purge calories, I would work out every day. I changed my major from musical theater to kinesiology (the study of human movement), because through my eating disorder, I developed a keen interest in the human body and how it worked to produce movement during exercise. I was at the gym so much that the fitness manger asked if I would be interested in becoming a personal trainer. So I started to work as a personal trainer and spin instructor at 24 Hour Fitness as a way to excuse my excessive amounts of exercise. And that is how I got into the fitness industry. Because of my eating disorder.

I eventually went into treatment again after suffering for 10 years with my eating disorder and am now in REAL recovery. When I first went back to working as a personal trainer post recovery, my doctors freaked. I was basically an alcoholic working at a bar. But I have stayed dedicated to my recovery and have found a way to take what I have learned from my experience to help my clients understand that body size and weight are not indicators of health and wellness.

What inspires you?

My clients. When they take that leap of faith and step out of their comfort zone, I am so proud. It can be a small thing, like wearing in a tank top to a session instead of a long sleeved top when they don’t think their arms are “small enough”. Or it can be big things, like walking down stairs without holding onto the handrails for the first time EVER in their life and being pain free. Each of those moments is incredible to me, and they inspire me to keep doing what I am doing.  

What is one valuable thing you’ve learned in life?

To thine own self be true. It is so easily said but not so simple to live. Be true to your beliefs and purpose above all things. Never lose sight of who you are.

Name one experience that has completely changed you.

My eating disorder. It is a LONG experience, but it is one experience. It was a very dark time in my life and to this day it is incredibly hard to not only see pictures of myself from back then, but to also read journal entries from those days. When I turned 30 (3 years after starting recovery), I had a breakdown. I thought I had screwed up my life forever. I thought that my chance to become a Broadway star and truly be happy was lost for good. I blamed myself for screwing up my life. But now I know how wrong that is. I was given a beautiful opportunity by surviving my eating disorder. I was given the opportunity to share what I had learned through my battle and possibly prevent someone from suffering the same fate. My eating disorder forever changed the course of my life, but it is up to me to decide what that course will be. After my breakdown, I made the decision to share my story and live my life helping those struggling to find their true beauty apart from their outer shell.

Stop using the word “should”. At one point or another in our lives we all say that we “should be farther along” than we presently are. That is absolute baloney. The only place you should be at any given moment is exactly where you are. 

What is your proudest moment?

Every day since starting recovery from my eating disorder, because I know that I have lived another day outside and above of the madness.

What’s your advice for someone who hasn’t found his or her way in the world yet?

Stop using the word “should”. At one point or another in our lives we all say that we “should be farther along” than we presently are. That is absolute baloney. The only place you should be at any given moment is exactly where you are. I started my business late last year and since then I have had many of these moments. So now, this is what I say to myself: “I may not always be where I want to be, but I am always where I need to be”. You may think that you have not yet found your way, but little do you know you are already living that way right now.

Robyn’s story is so inspiring! I can totally relate to using the word “should” too much, to judging my process and my journey. This is where we are meant to be, right here, right now.

To learn more about Robyn, visit her website or follow her on Twitter and Facebook. If anything in this post resonated with you or moved you, share with us in the comments or reach out to Robyn and let her know.

What’s In Your Bag, SobbingOnFifth?

SobbingOnFifth

I met @SobbingOnFifth about two years ago on Twitter. We bonded over our love of fashion and of course, Twitter. She is one of the most stylish and funniest girls I know. So I had to ask – what’s in her bag?

Here it is, in her own words:

  1. Mansur Gavriel bucket bag, aka, my baby. I fell in love with this bag the first time I saw it and signed up on about ten different waiting lists, stalking stores like a madwoman, until No. 6 Store made the fateful call that it had arrived. I haven’t carried another bag since.
  2. Another moment of love at first sight was for these Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses. I’ve been trying not to be a sucker for what pops up in street style shots over and over lately, but these appealed to my inner baroque-loving history geek.
  3. I keep a planner with me. Yup, in this age of smart phones. There’s something about physically writing it down that just helps me actually remember things and stay organized.
  4. And a notebook. I’d like to tell you I use this to write down spontaneous notes of genius and inspiration while out and about, but mostly I use it to do math when figuring out a sale price (again, with the old fashion ways!) or write down the name of a restaurant, store, or bar that I pass that I want to check out.
  5. Nail file and Maybelline Color Show nail polish in Iced Queen. Color Show polishes are such a good drugstore buy. I think they’re like $4.00 and they last forever, and you only need two coats for really rich color.
  6. Hair tie, because duh.
  7. Gum, also duh.
  8. My mirror compact with a pug on it, which I’d rather look at than my face any day. The pug is even holographic, because I roll like that. And pugs trump all, obviously.
  9. Aaand we come to my lip product collection – this is actually the smallest it’s been. The lightness and roominess of this bucket bag has encouraged me to carry around lipsticks, glosses, and tinted balms in every shade. For today, I just have my trusty Clinique chubby stick in Roomiest Rose, which I much prefer to the dryness of lipstick, my Yu-Be Lip Therapy, my Maybelline Baby Lips (least favorite, got it because everyone was raving about it, but I don’t get it…?) and Vaseline Lip Therapy in Rosy Lips which has the shine, tint and feel of those glorious glosses you used in 8th grade, only way more moisturizing and long-lasting.

So there you have it. Follow SobbingOnFifth on Twitter for style banter and hilarious commentary.