Paris : day 1

Why Paris?
When I traveled to Paris for the first time in January 2013, it was love at first sight. While I’m not used to walking around in a busy city, Paris did feel like coming home. The neo-classical buildings, the many musea, the happy couples that made me dream of strolling along the Seine with my boyfriend at night, while gazing at the Eiffel Tower, which extends above Paris like a burning candle,…
I felt like I could stay in Paris for ever and never get tired of it.

Getting there
We traveled to Paris by bus, with an organisation called ‘Flixbus‘( I highly recommend them for all citytrips within Europe, by the way). The journey took about 4h30 from Antwerp, which is, of course, way slower than the Thalys. However, it was thrice as cheap, and when you’re a student, every penny counts.

Spending a day in Paris
When we arrived at Paris, it was about 25 degrees and very sunny. We were so happy with the weather that we decided to skip the musea, and spend as much time outside as possible.

1) Pont Neuf
The Pont Neuf, translated as ”New Bridge”, is the oldest bridge across the Seine. Its first stone was laid back in 1578. Back in the 16th century, it was the first bridge exclusively for pedestrians. (The other ones were lined with houses on both sides, like you still can see in Firenze today). It’s not really a must-see, but the view from it is nice nevertheless. You can see the Pont des Arts (the one with all the locks, which have been removed now), the Louvre, the Eiffeltower, the Conciergerie,…

(there’s a description by each photo if you hover over it)

2) Sainte Chapelle
Sainte Chapelle is a church built in the 13th century on île de la Cité. It has very beautiful stained glass windows, which is the reason I wanted to visit the church. That, and because it’s way less touristy than the Notre-Dame. (We had to wait in line for about 10 minutes though, due to a queue caused by security scanning)


3) Le Marais
After we visited Sainte Chapelle and walked past the Notre Dame, we continued or visit in Le Marais,often referred to as “Old Paris” .Le Marais combines old architecture with modern art galeries, cute boulangeries and lots of vintage shops ( I will make a post about that later). It used to be the ”quartier” of the Jews, and nowadays it has become a hotspot for the LGBTQ community.

4) evening stroll
We had dinner in Indiana Café at Les Halles, which serves by far the best Mexican food I ever ate for a decent price (We paid around 14 euros per person). Afterwards, we decided to explore the ”city of light”. We walked along the banks of the Seine, holding each other’s hand, and it was even more magical than in my dreams. We saw the Conciergerie, the Eiffeltower and the Louvre again, and while we had seen it by day aswell, it looked way more mysterious and wonderful by night. At the cour carrée, there were so few people ( a few tourists and people taking wedding photos) that I felt like my boyfriend and I were completely alone on the world, and that in such a crowded city like Paris !


Tips
–  Don’t forget to ask for une carafe d’eau when you’re at a restaurant. Drinks are usually pretty expensive, but those are free.
– The metro is the easiest and fastest way to get from point A to B, but it’s also the least pretty.
– If you’re from the European Union, aged 18-26, all subsidized musea are free. If you’re not, it’s best to buy your tickets in advance if possible.

Day 2 and 3 will follow soon !
Miss Sophie

Fashion Icons : Dita Von Teese

Dita Von Teese is probably the most famous burlesque performer. She was one of the important people, if not the most important, to bring burlesque back into public favor, thanks to her special acts with a carousel horse and a giant martini glass. Not to mention her stunning vintage outfits! With her 1940’s look both on and off stage, she has revamped the glamour of Old Hollywood movies and bombarded herself into becoming a fashion icon. She has walked on the catwalk for Christian Dior and is often seen front row by Yves Saint Laurent.

To be honest, I’m not really suprised about Dita becoming a fashion icon. With her porcelain skin, jet black hair and cherry lips, Dita Von Teese simply breathes glamour and sexiness. And isn’t that the look most women want to achieve ?

Dita’s tips for looking as glamorous as she does
Of course, Dita isn’t unaware she’s a fashion icon.(I mean, how could she be ? She probably has paparazzi following her everywhere.) I don’t know if she wanted to become one, but she sure “used” her status to help modern day women  add a taste of vintage fashion into their lives.
She has designed her own lingerie and clothing line called “Von Follies” (Did you know she’s actually a graduated designer?) and created her own perfume. But apparently, people wanted to know litterally everything behind her beauty routine, which led her to write “your beauty mark”, a step by step guide on how to completely achieve her look.
This book will be published in 2016/ the end of 2015. She has also written other books about burlesque and the art of tease.

Dita’s Von Follies collection

One of her books

Although her complete beauty guide isn’t published yet, here are a few tips she mostly gives in interviews :

– red lipstick
– eyeliner (catwings !)
– sunscreen to obtain and keep a porcelain skin
– high heels
– self-confidence is an important key to look sexy

Random facts about Dita
– she’s actually a blonde
– when she was a teenager, she wanted to have a star tattooed in her face, but the tattooer talked her out of it and changed it into a tache de beauté
– she has been collecting lingerie since she was 18 ( she worked in a lingerie store at her 15th)
– she owns a 1946 Ford convertible, a 1953 Cadillac, and a French Blue Packard.
– she has a pink-yellow kitchen with a checkerboard floor

I absolutely adore her wedding dress (Vivienne Westwood)

Ode to red lipstick

Like the little black dress, Ray-Ban sunglasses and Diane Von Furstenberg’s wrap dress, red lipstick is a symbol of style which has grown to become a fashion statement. And that is more than well deserved, because they are able to add glamour and fabulousness to any situation. Whether going for a stroll or having a meeting, you’ll always look sexy having some red applied to your lips (okay, maybe not when having dinner). It’s even sort of scientifically proven that red gives you an empowering and seducing look. Although psychologists still speculate a lot about that theory, they do agree that wearing red gives you a confidence boost. Joan Holloway, Dita Von Teese, anyone ?
Anyway, as you see, red lipstick will suit everyone at every occassion, no matter what you’re wearing. However, you have to keep in mind that there are at least 50 shades of red (oops, I went there) and whether the shade fits you or not, is mostly determined by your skin and hair type. Make-up artists say that the one tint that makes your teeth look the whitest is the one for you.

I remember my first red lipstick try-out very well. In eighth grade, I went on exploring my mom’s make-up shelf. She owned a wide variety of lipsticks, from purple (yuk!) to brown, but only one of them caught my attention. A sweet, pinkish red labelless lipstick. Happy about what I had found, I smeared a thick layer on my lips, looking more like a clown-to-be than a fashion diva. When I went to my mom to show her how well that lipstick suited me, she bursted out laughing because I looked absolutely ridiculous, and so I decided that it would probably be better if I would stay away from make-up for a while.

A couple of years later, my mom decided it was time to clean out her closet. She threw away all the expired make-up, and the make-up she didn’t use anymore, was either handed to me or the trashcan. And so I came to inherit my favourite lipstick ( which turned out to be a cheap ass lipstick that a magazine had given away for free so many years ago, but hey, lipstick was lipstick !). I became so fond of it, that I wore it to school every single day, and when I woke up a little late, with no time to apply make-up/my lipstick, people  asked me if I felt sick.
Of course, after a while, all lipstick had been used, and time had come to find a worthy replacer for my sweet, sweet lipstick. First, I had another quite cheap lipstick from ‘Essence’. The color was exactly the same, but its quality was pure rubbish. Whenever I ate, I got really nasty contours of lipstick on my lips. This was definitely NOT a worthy replacer. As it seemed a little heartless to throw it away, I decided to hide it in the closet and never use again. Thinking of it, when I looked in that closet recently, the lipstickwas gone. Guess I apparently hid it somewhere else, or I might have lost it (well what a shame)
My second try was a more expensive lipstick from clinique, a present from my mom. It was the ‘red-y to wear lipstick’, and so far this has been the best lipstick I ever had. It’s even better than my first !

clinique’s red-y to wear

In my opinion, there is nothing more satisfying than applying a shade of hot red on your lips to finish your outfit.
As Sofia Vergara said :

“If I walk outside without lipstick, I feel naked.”

So Sweet Speedshopping

Dear reader,
During weekdays, I live in a dorm and attend classes, like any other good student. However, I have to admit that I don’t enjoy all classes equally as much, and when boredom hits me, my smartphone always seems to appear out of nowhere ( isn’t that weird ? *grins*) to read some news, look at some pictures or simply to let time pass faster.

Preamble
Last friday I had a class about human metabolism, where, besides a short anecdote about a student who got arrested at the Tel Aviv airport for attending a congress about ‘free radicals’ (the scientific kind), not much interesting was told. Which meant smartphone to the rescue. After an endless time of swiping the screen in search of something nice to read,
I stumbled upon a message from my favourite retro shop in the neighborhood ( So Sweet in Hasselt). A whole new bunch of dresses had been delivered, yay ! And guess what ? There was a dress that I’d wanted to order on the internet a couple of weeks ago. But fitting and touching and buying in real life always gives more satisfaction, don’t you agree ?
Speedshopping
Last saturday, I persuaded my mom to come along with me for a ‘stroll’ in Hasselt. ( Should I have told her that I wanted her to come along to sponsor my garderobe ?). Because we didn’t have much time, we headed straight for ‘So Sweet’. As soon as I entered that shop, I swear I could hear that dress, with the most beautiful fabric I have ever seen, calling. ‘ Touch me, try me, buy me‘, and I just couldn’t disobey. Besides the dress from Lady V, there also was a pretty red pencil skirt that I had laid my eyes upon. First, I tried on the skirt, but when I zipped it, I immediately realised my body was NOT made for those type of skirts (sadly). I’m more the swing-skirt kind of girl, as was made clear by the dress, which fitted me perfectly.

my Lady V cupcake dress

About So Sweet
So Sweet is a retro and rockabilly shop in the Dorpsstraat in Hasselt, which is known as the more alternative/special shopping street. The shop is relatively new ( it opened its doors in October 2014), but that doesn’t mean the owner is an unexperienced newbie. Liesbet has worked for Nicky Vankets and Maasmechelen Village before, so you can be sure she gives excellent service and advice !

So Sweet’s latest spring window

In the shop, besides a lot of pink and cupcakes (isn’t that cute ?) you can find a wide variety of famous and not-so-famous retro brands, such as Lady V, Hell Bunny, Paper Dolls, Fever London, Hulahup ( a Belgian retro brand, yay!),… They also have a selection of Christofoli shoes, hair flowers and some jewelery from which I do not know the brands 🙂

So Sweet
Dorpsstraat 32
3500 Hasselt
Belgium

Enjoy your sunday !
Miss Sophie

the necessary evil of boring introductions

dear reader,
I know an introduction is probably one of the most boring blog posts to start with.
Why would you care who I am or where I live ? You won’t remember me after reading this anyway. That is if you even get to the end.
But imagine this was the real life. We were at a party and I came up to talk to you. I didn’t know you, however, I didn’t bother to introduce, since it wouldn’t matter. Wouldn’t that be odd ? Maybe even creepy ?
As you see, introductions are a necessary evil. But I’ll make a promise to you : I will keep it short. Telling my whole life would make things far too complicated, too boring and whatsoever.

I entered this world about 18 years ago in a little farmer’s village in Belgium.
Too bad for me I didn’t get to pick the place where I wanted to be born in. As any farmer’s village,
everyone knew everybody and when a rumor started to spread, the whole village knew about it in less than three days.
Anyway, as soon as I got to know the big and old Belgian cities such as Antwerp, Ghent and Leuven, I felt that that was where I really belonged : I absolutely adored the mixture of historical buildings, special shops and people. It made me feel so alive and cheerful and…just incredibly happy to live. It got even better when I, during one of my first shopping trips to Antwerp, stumbled upon a shop with retro/pin-up like clothing, and I am smiling behind my screen now, realizing that that little shop has been the cause for a major turn in my life/closet.

the 1st retro shop I went to – Kammenstraat, Antwerp

You see, before I got to know that shop, my closet only contained pants and blouses, but as time passed and I came to find more and more of those funky retro shops, more and more dresses entered my closet. (I don’t know if this is something to be proud of, but nowadays, I have only one pair of pants left, in case of absolute emergency), because they made me feel so feminine and I do believe they helped me to gain some self-confidence.
After the 1950 inspired clothes, movies and music soon followed. I was very enthusiastic about my new ‘me’, as to say so.
Sadly, that happy feeling didn’t last long. When I started to wear those clothes out in public I could hear people murmur behind me, which gave me a so-so feeling. Somewhere I was happy they noticed me, that I no longer had to be another grey mouse in the crowd (see : self-confidence), yet somehow I felt incredibly insecure and alone. What if they were saying bad things about me ? Why did no one else dress like me ? I tried not to care, but just laughing it away was way easier said than done. I felt so alone and completely misunderstood by a lot of people. So much even, that I came to hate and despise the mainstream crowd and their way of dressing and thinking. I mean, brands were advertising their products as unique, yet produced 100000 of them at the same time ? In which way is that unique?

However, I have to thank God for the internet. Thanks to Facebook, twitter and instagram I discovered I was NOT alone. There were quite a lot of people who liked the same style as me, and some of them felt the same about dressing different. That’s how I decided to stop ‘hiding’. I made profiles on twitter and wordpress. I thought :’ why do we have to be underdogs ? What if I would try to bring our style to mainstream people ? Or at least try to inform as many people as possible ?’ and that is what I will try to do. I’ll be talking about retro brands, retro music, swing parties to interest people from the scene but also to let newbies know about it. But also about more ‘regular’ stuff like beauty and travel… just the things that keep me occupied in general.

As for the rest, I don’t think there’s anything else you ought to know about me, but if you would like to know something, feel free to ask.

Cya,
Miss Sophie