My Boston beauty haul #1

I’ve wrote about what I’ve seen in my first few weeks in Boston (and there is more to come), but I know some people back home are wondering? Well what have you bought so far? Yes, I’m afraid that I can easily turn into a shopaholic especially in the US. Well so far I’ve mainly got furniture from IKEA, home appliances and kitchen utensils from Target and oh! a bunch of beauty products because I arrived here empty handed!

So although I refrain from blogging about beauty in this blog (save for some Instagram re-caps) today’s post will be a beauty one, because I’m itching to write about all the goodies I’ve picked up from Sephora, CVS  and Bath and Body Works since setting foot in Boston. If you are a US reader, you’re probably be unfazed, but I know that some people back home would be interested, because here there’s an array of different products, plus you get to buy Essie nail polishes at $8 (that’s 6,2€ to you). So here’s the products that I got to cover my needs (since I came here with practically no skin/body care), divided in 3 categories: Skincare, Hair and Body Care and Miscellaneous.

Fresh Lotus moisturizer and eye cream, Algenist toner, Neutrogena cleanser, Josie Maran Argan Oil, Sephora micellar water

Skincare

Before I even set foot in Boston I was perusing Sephora’s website looking for a moisturizer. My skin is normal/combination and the brands I considered were Fresh, Origins and Korres (which by the way has also products that are not available in Greece). In store a very helpful lady also showed me some other options, but I decided upon Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream. It was about time I started using a “youth preserve cream” I guess, being over 30 and all that!! What won me over, was how lightweight the cream is. When I put it on my face I feel so nice, no over-moisturizing and feeling oily. I also opted for the eye cream for the same line, which is also lightweight and pleasant.

For cleanser I got a creamy/foaming one from Neutrogena naturals line. I clearly mistook it for a creamy make up remover, but I was wrong. Although it is foaming in conjunction with the Algenist toner that I got, it makes my skin feel so fresh. Really my whole skincare routine right now, leaves me fresh faced! Before leaving Sephora, my eye caught a travel size bottle of Josie Maran’s Argan Oil, which I snapped immediately as I really wanted to see how pure argan oil is. I use it at nighttime instead of moisturizer sometimes and it feels nourishing yet lightweight (lighter than the rosehip oil I’ve used in the past, though it doesn’t have the same properties). I’ve also used it in the ends of my hair after washing them.

The only product I got and I’m not really satisfied is Sephora’s own micellar water. Having used Bioderma’s, Garnier’s and L’Oreal’s micellar waters I guessed that this would be ok for my eyes too. Well, it’s not…it stings a bit, so after I’m done with it, I’m going to look for another micellar water!

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What to Wear When Traveling

what to wear when travelling

The stylish traveler: an elusive concept or an attainable reality?

It’s all up to you really and the effort you are going to put in creating your ideal travel look! I’m just here to help and give you helpful tips drawing from my personal traveling experience and not to mention my latest transatlantic trip.

 1) Do it like a Celebrity

If it sounds confusing, I’m talking about layering. T-shirt, cardigan, jacket and (the ubiquitous) scarf are your best friends. That way you neither going to freeze, not feel extremely hot. Nicole here  provides us with a nice example, though I’d add a cardigan in the mix too.

2) Wear comfortable shoes

A pair of sneakers or ballerina flats should be your best bet. Avoid wearing knee high boots, it’s tried and tested (because I wanted space in my suitcase) and wasn’t comfortable at all (I ended up unzipping my boots on board). I’ve also seen people in flip flops and always wonder whether their feet don’t get cold!

3) Ditch the bling

I never wear jewelry when travelling, save for a silver cross that I wear for good luck (don’t ask me, it’s the only “superstition” I have). It would be annoying to have to remove bracelets and necklaces for the security check and not to mention that they would annoy me when I try to sleep.

4) Choose your carry on wisely

If you’re not getting a trolley as a carry on, then the bag you will be carrying must fit all your travel necessities and then some more (book, notepad, maybe a tablet). For years I used this cute Hello Kitty bag that could hold all that I needed and the some more (shopping *wink, wink*)! During my last trip though I did have a trolley (this one by Delsey), so my bag of choice was my Folli Follie K Vintage handbag.

5) Dress for the country you’re visiting, not the one you’re leaving behind

If your destination is colder than your country of origin, then by all means pile on those layers! Also keep a wool scarf in hand if it’s winter!

So tell me, which is your go-to travel attire? Laid back? Stylish? Don’t-even-care? Do share in the comments!

P.S. The photo above belongs to an editorial shot by Raymond Meier at Heathrow Terminal 5 and Charlotte Pilcher being the Fashion Editor for the shoot. You can find it here. The photo above was taken by me from Vogue Hellas who had reprinted the editorial.

Boston: First Impressions

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I’m almost two weeks here in Boston and so far I’ve managed to a) familiarize myself with the immediate surroundings (Sommerville), b)shopping for the home (mainly online at Target, which has literally everything) and stocking up on beauty products that (of course) I didn’t carry with me c) exploring Boston one step and the time (and a bit of Cambridge to) and d) drive a van to IKEA to make this house a home!

1) Unlike many cities that I’ve visited either in Europe or in the US, Boston has hills, both downtown and in the suburbs (at least where I live). So a distance that seems short, might actually be more challenging because of the hills.

2) Everything (downtown) is in walking distance. Seriously one day I walked from the North End to Newbury street all in one day, zig-zagging as I went along. A comfy pair of shoes is all you need and you’re ready to go!

3) The sunsets are amazing! Surely I can’t take a picture every day, but they’re really beautiful. (Not sure that that happens all year long or it’s a coincidence).

4) There are Dunkin Donuts everywhere! Surely I’ve seen Dunkin Donuts before. They even opened a store in Glyfada (suburb of Athens) about 17 years ago. Not sure how long it lasted.

5) Yes, there are places that you’d swear you were in the UK. But similarities end only in the architecture. The British didn’t use that much red brick in their buildings.

6) There are flowers everywhere! On the entrance stairs, on balconies, on flower boxes…everywhere. Also in the small gardens, sometimes there are decorative details, like that owl I shot.

7) Downtown there is a mixture of architecture, where old meets new and of course that intrigues me!!

8) Harvard Yard is a smoke free area. Now if only some folks back in Greece would experience such tobacco ban in Universities (which are all but tobacco free)…

9) There are people riding motorcycles and make noise. No, that’s not a novelty for me, but that something I have not encountered in Europe except for Greece.

 As the time goes by, I’ll explore more, visit some museum, dine, have lunch and cafe and report back! Now that I’ve said cafe; I was very pleased to find out that there is a Caffe Nero in Boston (my favorite in the UK) and there is a PAUL opening up soon! I’m made!!

P.S. I’ve included photos from the places I’ve seen so far and I liked the most! I’m ending this post with a video my husband shot while we were returning from IKEA the other day (I was driving)

P.P.S. For those you’ve seen the preview in Instagram, a post with all the new beauty goodies I’ve bought here will follow!!

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Galini Tavern, Plakias Crete

Galini Tavern, Souda, Plakias, Crete

I maybe far away from Greece, but there are still some posts and photos from the past that I’m going to share here on the blog like this basic but wonderful tavern I visited while vacationing in Crete.  It might not be trendy and stylish as the places I usually feature in my blogs, but it has really great food! Ideal after spending the morning (or afternoon) on the beach!

Galini Tavern is located in a small and picturesque bay called Souda, near to Plakias village/beach in southern Crete (not to be confused with Souda near Chania, also in Crete). Galini translates to tranquility, sereneness and I think it describes perfectly the feeling you have when watching the sea (on a non windy day, just to be clear).

Here you’ll find traditional Cretan and Greek dishes, meat and fishes dishes alike. Though I failed to shoot the main dishes I took photos for your viewing pleasure the salad and the (super yummy) fried cheese balls that we ordered. Also, when in Crete I usually try out local soft drinks: I went for an orangeade while my husband got a soft drink based on carob (which is produced and is very popular in Crete).

P.S. I’ve included a panoramic photo of Souda beach in Plakias, where the tavern is located.

Salad at Galini tavern

Galini Tavern, Souda, Plakias, Crete

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Hello Boston!

boston

Flashback to 2011: I had booked a trip to Ann Arbor, MI to visit my best friend who was working/studying there and in order to find the best deal I had 2 stopovers on my way back: one in Boston and one in Amsterdam. Exhausting I tell you, especially as I had a 6-hour break in Amsterdam and was wandering aimlessly in the city in 8 o’clock in the morning! But that’s not my point. My point is Boston. I still remember the landing in Boston. It was early June, the weather was great and I couldn’t get enough of Boston’s harbor and islands. Really. I said to myself that I had to visit that city one day.

Well I guess the universe heard my request as I’m going to spend the next 9 months in Boston! My husband got a scholarship to study in Tufts University and I tagged along after getting an unpaid leave of absence from my job.

The common question I get is what I am going to do (since I won’t be working). Well for starters I’m going to find a yoga studio and become a regular there! Second I’m going to give more attention to my blogs and respective social media. And then I’ll see what I’m going to do! I treat this time as a “gap year” and all I care is to have fun and enjoy it as much as I can :P

P.S. The photo was taken from the airplane as it approached Boston Logan Airport and actually depicts Salem and Marblehead since I haven’t found the time yet to visit downtown Boston (I have a house to decorate first)!

Instagram {aspects} # 7- Vacations edition

green umbrella

It’s been more than I week since I came back from vacations and only now I came to compile this little post with my instagram snaps. You obviously noted that there are a few photos featuring the sea, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t hit the beach at all! I spent my vacations in Crete relaxing, swimming and …eating (how original for us Greeks)! So it’s no wonder that this year instead of “mini guides” for the cities I’ve visited I have a few posts lined up from restaurants!

So tell me how/where did you spend your vacations??

Discover Kea

view over Kea

Kea is one of the largest islands of the Cyclades and the one closest to Athens. Yet due to its mountainous landscape and the fact that “locals” prefer their privacy vs. the influx of tourists (either from Greece or abroad), the island isn’t on a lot of people’s radar. Yet the Daily Telegraph discovered it and included it in their “secret” beach holiday resorts in Europe.

So I thought that it was high time to post photos from my latest visit in Kea (also known as Tzia) here on the blog, back in 2012. I stayed over at a family friend’s home, which deserves its own post on the blog and will follow shortly. I’ve visited Kea many times (always staying at the said house) in the past 10 years. It has many small, clean beaches that are usually hard to approach (with a conventional car) as there aren’t many asphalted roads. Koundouros (in the south) is the most well-known beach  as well as Otzias (but it’s in the north, so when wind blows that way, it’s not ideal to swim there). But there are other beaches as well, like Spathi and Sykamia two beautiful, rather quiet beaches in the northeastern part of the island.

Now, as food+drink is concerned, Vourkari and Korissia (the port) are the most popular choices.  Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of Ioulida, which is the “capital” of the island, but it’s worth the visit. An important sight of the island is the monastery of Panagia Kastriani which has spectacular views over the Aegean Sea.

How to get there: Ferries for Kea depart from Lavrio port. You can find information and book tickets here.

Where to stay: There aren’t many hotels to stay in Kea and you’ll have to choose from either expensive ones or basic bed and breakfast ones. Here you’ll find the available hotels in the island. Of course you can also check out airbnb as there are many homes available for rent.

Koundouros, Kea a cat in Kea Korissia, Kea Sykamia beach, Kea

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Summer Blue

Moschino sunglasses

Is it in Miami? (nope) Malibu? (nope) Those palm trees you see are located in the National Garden in Athens.

I’m spending my last week in Athens, before heading to Crete for my vacations and since I couldn’t hit the beach for technical reasons, I spent last Saturday afternoon in the city, eating sushi in Furin Kazan, stopping by the National Garden for some photos and then hitting the stores for luggage shopping.

For this outing I chose an all (light) blue outfit consisting of my favorite denim shorts by Replay that I own for more than 5 years and a peplum top by Free People (which also isn’t new). I liked the top so much when I saw it that I bought it, despite being a US size 8 whereas I’d normally wear 4 or 6! The blue bag that completes the outfit is by Guess and it’s a recent purchase. Its blue color stroke a cord and I just had to get it!

I finished off my look with those beaded earrings, which added a tiny dose of red color and matched them with a coral-ish lipstick (the color is actually a combination)!

What do you think? Isn’t it an ideal summer outfit for both the city and vacations?

P.S. Oh yeah, after the wedding I chopped off my hair, but I guess you noticed that.

P.P.S. I’m linking up to today’s Style Elixir Style Sessions.

summer make up and short hair

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A quick guide to Santorini

Oia Santorini

Have you ever dreamed of living in a postcard? Well, visiting Santorini will make you feel just like that! It’s no wonder that Santorini is the most coveted Greek island thanks to  its stunning view, unique architecture and well its volcanic past. This is probably one of the few islands that beaches aren’t a priority. Not that they are not clean, but they have black sand due to the volcanic minerals. The picturesque village of Oia and the “capital” of the island Fira with their whitewashed buildings and beautiful view over the sea (where once the volcano crater used to be) make up for the no t so exotic beaches.

Last time I visited Santorini was 2 years ago. I was there for 5 days and really made a good use of my time: I walked in Oia, I saw the sunsetfrom Fira, I tasted wine in 2 wineries, I ate…well a lot, I visited the archaeological site in Akrotiri and I swam in the sea, which surprisingly was not ice cold at the time (as it is usually in the Aegean Sea).

What to See

Of course Oia and Fira will be on top of the list. Walking, exploring, taking pictures, making memories. The best time to explore this beautiful villages is late afternoon when the sun isn’t so harsh…trust me, I learned the hard way (p.s. if you notice my photos where taken during midday). Also it’s highly likely that you may even get jammed in order to watch the sunset! If you’re lucky and it’s a cloudless and humidity free day, you’ll even see the sun setting in the sea!

Also do visit the archaeological site in Akrotiri. It’s amazing! Here you’ll see a whole village with its roads and buildings that was demolished during the volcano explosion way back when. The site is restored and preserved thanks to a modern ceiling that allows air and sun to come in but protects the ruins from corrosion.

What to Do

During my first visit in Santorini back in 2002 I wasn’t aware of the many vineyards and wineries that this island has! Well this time (in 2012)  I visited 2 of them, where our friends are working and tasted some very interesting wines (and I’m not even a wine drinker)! First stop was the Boutari winery, were we tasted the white wines Kallisti and Nychteri, the red wine Mandilaria (that’s the grape’s name) and the sweet wine Vinsanto (to be drank with fruits/desserts). The next day we visited the Domain Sigalas winery where we tasted the Cavaliere wine (it’s a white one) (p.s. we had already tasted their Vinsanto wine, which has to be my favorite)! The Domain Sigalas has a very nice courtyard with nice view of the vineyards and the sea, where you can taste your wine! So if you visit Santorini do add at least a winery visit in your itinerary!

Beaches to visit

As I wrote in the introduction, Santorini isn’t known for it’s beaches, as the sand is usually black-ish due to the volcanic minerals. Notable beaches are Perissa, Perivolos and Kamari. The Red Beach near Akrotiri is also one of the well known beaches of the island (due to it’s color). Last, I really liked Vlychada for it’s peculiar stone formations and its not so dark sand.

In order to be more helpful I gathered all my suggestions in the following map.

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View from Oia

Fira, Santorini

Watching the Sunset in Fira

Sigalas winery Santorini

Wine Tasting in Sigalas winery

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How I Chose My Wedding Shoes

 

wedding shoes by Kate Spade

A lot of people complimented me on my wedding shoes and the fact that they matched my lace wedding dress perfectly (it wasn’t intentional, it just happened!), so I thought it would be interesting to share how I ended up getting this pair of shoes, which trust me was a huge deal for me!

I should start by stating that buying shoes is a tedious task for me, as I’m usually drawn to bags rather than shoes. So a few years ago I made a “pact” with myself: I see a pair of shoes I like, I buy it on the spot. The only second thoughts I am allowed to have is about the said pair of shoes fitting my lifestyle and being comfortable or I would end with a rather large collection of pretty looking high heels that I would rarely wear (lesson learned).

Now, choosing the wedding shoes is almost as important as choosing the wedding dress. Only for me it was even harder! I started looking for shoes in early March (the wedding was in June) and the stores hadn’t rolled out their spring collections by then, so I postponed my search for a bit.

The Specs

To be honest I didn’t have a clear idea of how my wedding shoes should be, but I had a few “guidelines”: I didn’t want peep toe shoes because I find them uncomfortable and I wasn’t looking for the typical white satin shoes adorned with Swarovski crystals (or not).

So, I set out to look for pastel colored shoes to match my color theme. My Prada pumps would be a really good fit and I said to myself that if I didn’t find a pair of shoes I liked that would be my backup plan!

The Search

I started off trying out patent pumps (that reminded me of the said pair of pumps I own), nude colored slingbacks, and silver colored high heeled sandals. And I didn’t like anything AT ALL!!

By then it was the 1st of April and I had to choose my shoes, buy them and get them to the designer so that the dress hem could be determined. So…Pinterest once again came to the rescue. I was scrolling through my home page when I spotted this pair of Kate Spade shoes on Glitter Guide’s board. I turned to my fiance and said “Now that’s a pair of shoes I would wear!!” So I started looking for the shoes online. One thing led to another and I found myself browsing the Kate Spade collection on Nordstrom. And I stopped when I saw these slingbacks.

The Desicion

That was it! That was my shoe! It wasn’t peep toed, it had a reasonable heel and it had this lacy effect that matched my wedding dress. And then I started thinking “How will I know if it fits?”, “What is the right size for me?”, “I never shop for clothes and shoes online”. It lasted 2 hours, an email to Nordstrom, perusing Kate Spade size guide, measuring my feet again and again until I determined my size. Then I pulled the plug, took my credit card and ordered the shoes!

The Shoes

After waiting for almost 2 weeks for my shoes to travel from the US and pass border control (which took 3 full business days!!), the pair was finally on my hands feet! The first thing that I wanted to check was the fit, as I had ordered half a size up, just to be on the safe side. And yes, I should have ordered 7,5 instead of 8…but a silicone pad did the trick in the end!

I did wear them a bit before the wedding to break them in, which was a wise choice and on the wedding day I didn’t have problem with the shoes whatsoever. Lastly you want to know what I love about my shoes? That I can wear  them again, easily and they can be styled with anything from jeans to dresses. Score!

So tell me, what do you think about them?

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