If someone would have called me in June when I was living in California and said, ‘It’s going to be sunny this week!’ I would have responded, ‘Uh, duh.’ But as I’ve learned quickly in Europe, people LOVE to talk about the weather and I get a daily update from my husband. A couple weekends ago while packing for a road trip to Frankfurt, I got the news. ‘It’s going to be a sahara summer this weekend – like SUPER hot!’
Believe it or not, this was very exciting news. You simply can’t take sunny, warm, rain-free days for granted in Switzerland. HOT days are a special treat, although AC is virtually non-existent and I have to beg for extra ice-cubes at restaurants. I found my romper I’ve been waiting to wear all Spring and we hit the road to Germany. I highly recommend ‘Sahara Style’ this summer from palm print, leopard and neutral accessories… Read more ›
Spas are a big deal in Europe and while I won’t delve into the whole ‘mixed sauna’ situation; I can safely say some of the most beautiful spas I’ve ever seen are here in Switzerland. You’ve probably read, ‘you need 8 hours of sleep to replenish your skin,’ but what if you don’t have 8 hours to sleep every night? That’s exactly how my lifestyle was for a couple years in San Francisco starting in 2011 – work all day, run errands, dinner, checking out events, blogging until 3 am and then waking up again at 8 for work. I needed to find a solution to maximize my 5 hours of ‘beauty sleep‘ which was also the same time Savvy Sleeperswere born and I discovered how effective steam rooms and spas are for skin.
After quick late night workouts, I’d hit the steam room at the San Francisco Tennis Club for about 15 minutes, then go in the sauna, followed by 2 huge glasses of water. I noticed a huge difference in my skin after the steam room and face felt so calm and relaxed after a stressful day. Since then, I started getting facials a few times a year. Last month we visited the Palace Luzern Spa in Switzerland for an afternoon of R&R. Here’s how to ‘Spa Your Way to Better Skin,’ plus how to know if a facial is worth it and how to create the same ‘spa treatment’ feeling at home...
How to Know if a Spa is Really Worth It? - After getting suckered into a couple Groupon ‘spa’ deals, I learned my lesson. There is absolutely no reason to splurge on a spa unless you can truly relax and stay a few hours of pure relaxation can make anyone’s skin look and feel younger. The Palace Luzern Spa is beautiful and even had this Relaxation Room where you could lounge as long as you wanted, nibble on fresh fruit, before and after your treatment.
Facial Confessions ~ Trusting your make-up free face to an esthetician is not always pleasant. They see every imperfection, but you should never feel uncomfortable or even worse, have your skin or products you use at home insulted. I’ve had facials with no steam, no extractions, that felt like 10 layers of oil were being massaged into my pores. Those are the bad ones. You should feel relaxed the entire time (hence my carefree pineapple pom-pom ponytail). The best facials I’ve had involve a light peel, extractions, a tingly toner, a head a neck massage and most importantly, when you look in the mirror after it’s all done, you have no redness. This is exactly what happened at The Palace Luzern. It’s one of the best facials I’ve had since Nob Hill Spa in San Francisco last year.
Treat Yourself Head to Toe~ If you’re going to the spa for a facial, try not to rush in and out for your treatment. Take your time and enjoy all the ammenities of the Spa. If you’re new to steam rooms, take a handful of ice (like I did above) and massage it on your skin which cools down your body.
How to Continue the Feeling at Home ~ Estheticians tend to massage lotions and products in a circular motion especially light around the eyes which you can do when you wash your face at home and apply moisturizer. Try taking a few deep breaths when your head hits the pillow to calm your skin as you fall asleep. And if you’re joining a gym, splurge on the one that gives you have access to a steam room. Also, a product I’ve loved for years is Clarisonic Cleansing System. It truly exfoliates.
The Proof is in the Water ~ I’ve never been great about drinking a lot of water, but it’s so important if you use the steam room or sauna regularly and it does wonders for skin. My old roomie from SF, Lisa of Cocobella Ballerina, just shared her secrets to LOSING 100 POUNDS and water was a big factor! Lisa says in her post, ‘One thing is for sure since I’ve switched over to drinking predominately water and tea it’s made my skin AMAZING!!! I used to break out so much more (never EVER left the house without foundation) but since switching to water my skin has never been clearer.’
I’ll be sharing more skin care tips over the next few weeks. If you have any at home ‘Spa’ secrets or experiences (good or bad) you’ve had getting facials in the past, please share.
Same Shirt, Different Day. Packing for small trips like weekend getaways can spell disaster if you’re not careful. I used to be a complete nightmare to travel with trying to pull multiple overweight suitcases, duffle bags on each arm, plus receipts or ID’s scattered throughout my luggage. I still have room for improvement, but I’ve drastically cut down on over-packing.
On Part II of our Tour de Champagnethrough France last week; I’ll share my best tips for packing light whether you’re on the road or traveling in Europe. Thanks to confusing converters and the world’s worst blowdryers in European hotels; it’s not exactly a walk in the park if you’re moderately high-maintenance like me. However, my best tip to packing this summer is to find lightweight clothes that you can mix and match and wear throughout the entire trip! Hence, the white top and handbag on repeat in the post on our way back to Switzerland stopping for a bite in France… Read more ›
You’ve seen London, you’ve seen France, now let’s head to the land of Champs – as in Champagne. If you’re planning a trip to Paris in the future, I have to recommend a tour 2 hours away to France’s Champagne region. Paris is the ultimate tourist destination, but after a weekend road trip with friends to Nancy and Reims, this is my favorite part of France. After a night in Nancy’s city center, we indulged in the typical French breakfast called petit déjeuner. Although, I have no idea how French women stay so petite with a daily petit déjeuner because if you plan to enjoy it, you must throw all carbohydrate caution to the wind.
A French breakfast equates to a delicious buttery croissant, fresh baguette, butter from Normandy, and my favorite – Bonne Maman strawberry preserves which if you’d like for your next Sunday brunch you can skip the transatlantic flight and just head to your local Target. The beverages are included too! The entire meal, under 10 euros each, comes with a Cappuccino or as the waiter politely corrected me - Café au lait – plus fresh squeezed orange juice. Before I start craving goodies not on my weekday diet, let’s head to part 1 of the tour de Champagne this week. Welcome to Nancy, France…
(Style Side-Note) If you’re packing for Europe this summer, it’s so important to bring light-weight pants, a jacket and jeans. The weather changes daily and even if the sun is out in June; it doesn’t mean ‘California Sun‘ and can be on the chilly side. Most french women I saw wear neutral tones or black and white. Solid styles are key so save the hot pink flamingo print dress for the beach or tropical destinations. If you’re looking to visit Nancy, here’s the train schedule from Paris.
Have you ever traveled to France or is it on your must-see list to visit one day?
I’m a big believer that ‘age is just a number‘ and it’s all about staying ‘young at heart.’ After all, I still get excited like a 5-year-old over a fresh pack of Sour Patch Kids and sprint to the mailbox for my fashion mags after the Swiss postman arrives. But have you ever thought to yourself, ‘I’m just too old for this?‘ Not in terms of age per se, but in energy and interest levels. This happened to me at Coachella a couple years ago. Yes, it was super-fun and the performance by Tupac’s hologram was ‘epic,’ but after 3 nights in the desert clinging to my BFF’s hand so I didn’t get lost, navigating techno tents and drinking $8 beers for dinner with a wristband arm-party up to my elbow; I was Coachella’d out!
However, I still love festival fashion. Maybe Indio, CA isn’t a future destination, but there are more chilled out music festivals in Northern California coming soon. Bottle Rock, the 3-Day food/music/wine festival, is going on this weekend in Napa. Then in August is San Francisco’s Outside Lands with a line up including Tom Petty, Tiësto and Mr. Kim Kardashian himself – Kanye West. If it wasn’t a 12 hour flight from Switzerland to San Francisco, I’d be at Bottle Rock this weekend, but in the meantime here’s my NorCal Festival Style must-haves… Read more ›