April 23, 2015


Minimalist make up
It's been a while since I wrote about minimalism... Ok, I talk and write and think about it all the time but it's been a while since I dedicated a whole post to it. This time I'll tackle a subject I've probably never even mentioned before. Makeup. Let's call this:

Minimalist make-up essentials

I don't reeeeeally care about makeup. I don't read beauty blogs. I don't believe that a mascara should cost $30 nor do I see a spectacular difference between a $4 mascara and a $30 one. I once had a makeup Pinterest board, but I'm not even sure it's still there. Once you realize you are never going to try out any of the looks you pinned, you stoooop pinning. Lastly, I think spending more than 15 minutes on the routine, daily makeup is a waste of time. Who wants to get up extra early just to paint on a new face?

I do have a signature look though. (Wow, that makes me sound so much cooler, I love it!) I do a variation of the Twiggy look. Maybe it sounds crazy, and the first few times I went out like that, I definitely felt a bit like a clown (a pretty clown?) but now it's what I do most days. 

I've counted the products I have... 

1. Moisturizer with a bit of color

I believe these are called BB creams? or CC creams? Some ridiculous name I don't understand. I use moisturizers I find in French pharmacies. My skin is very sensitive, mostly quite dry with the powers of also getting inexplicably oily, prone to redness and occasional breakouts... FUN! So I don't use foundation because it would just make things worse.

2. Concealer

I use this Ducray concealer. There's nothing worse than a concealer that makes you break out more. This one does a decent job and doesn't make things worse. 

3. Black Mascara

If I really don't have time to put on makeup, I'll usually skip every next step in this list and just do mascara. I use the basic pink Maybelline one.

4. Bronzer or Blush

I read you're supposed to throw away makeup every so often because it goes bad... I've had the same blush for the past three years. I'm still alive... so far so good... let's see what happens. I recently bought the Avène couvrance bronzer. I don't follow the whole "contouring" thing but I like to do my cheeks. Looks good. As I write this post, I realize how little I know about makeup talk.

5. Black liquid Eyeliner or eyeshadow

I most often use a simple liquid eyeliner for the Twiggy look. I don't have a favorite brand yet. I have two or three Clinique eyeshadows that I use if I want something a little different. I used to own a bunch of pencil eyeliners in various colors but they got tossed. 

6. Lipstick

I own three that I rotate. I just tossed the other two out because I never used them (one more step towards minimalist makeup land!)

So I don't use that much makeup. I already know exactly what I will keep and what I will buy again. Just like my wardrobe, I use few colors. It was great to sit down and go through all my makeup products, deciding what stays and what goes. I own so much less that it all fits neatly in a box. It takes two seconds to find what I am looking for. I encourage you to do the same! Think about what you really use, what makes you feel good, what you actually like wearing. Are you keeping something because it was expensive, or a gift, but you never actually use it? Keep only what you need and use.

April 16, 2015


Fig Jam 1 Valentina Duracinsky Fig Jam 2 Valentina Duracinsky

150 calories snack: Fig jam + goat's cheese on rice cakes

Here I am, writing a "healthy snacks" post when I myself am not actually eating healthy.

two rice cakes: 50 cal
1 tbsp fig jam: 50 cal
15g goat's cheese: 45 cal
1/2 tsp bee pollen: 5 cal

Tortilla chips (fried... so good for the skin!), margaritas every day, many delicious spoonfuls of guacamole, tacos left and right, poutines with hot gravy and melted gooey cheese, way too many Lindt chocolate squares, macarons, hummus – healthy indeed but in large quantities not so much, on and on and on. And no exercise. Because "waitressing" doesn't really count, even though a lot of walking is involved. 
But my pants aren't fitting and my face is puffy, red and suddenly oily so maybe I should focus more on veggies and fruit and less on fat and sugar. Maybe I should eat when I'm hungry and not "because it's there" or "because it's free". 

This is a really simple snack. Some things are dangerous to have around the house (Lindt crème brulée chocolate squares, oh my GOD) and goat's cheese is one of them. Well, sometimes... it depends on my mood, anxiety, and other things. Also who says goat cheese and who says goat's cheese? because I say the first but I always feel like I should write it goat's cheese. I hate the sound of it though. Maybe I'll be myself from now on. Goat cheese. There!

I used to eat a lot of goat cheese with honey on bread. And one of my favorite recipes is a warm goat cheese salad with raspberry vinaigrette. It pairs well with sweet things, which makes this delicious as well. I'm sure any jam would work, but my obsession with fig has grown wild this past year (proof). If you try it, enjoy!

April 12, 2015



That is me with a dog... What a cute dog. As a child, I was obsessed. I would always want to be the dog in any dress up party or Halloween or whatever games we played where I could choose to be a dog. I don't remember much from those days. I have shockingly little childhood memories so I love going through old pictures! Here are some links for your last day of the week. Hopefully the weather is good and we can all go out and enjoy the sun. cheers!

Interesting & Thought Provoking 

beginner's guide to food photography

I need to do this asap: clean out your spice cabinet

books that blow minds? I might read a couple and see for myself!

I love lists. 100 greatest novels... Haven't read them all but a few a worthy to be on it! (ahem, Hemingway) (though I disagree with Madame Flaubert. That book haunts me. I almost died of boredom in highschool) (also yes to Jane Austen) (ok, no more parentheses) (against all punctuation rules)

damn, I need to complain less... read, read, read

things we forget to bring when we travel... yep!

Delicious & Beautiful

These guys make me want to travel non stop. Stunning

I wish I could go to one of Mimi's workshops. Fun!

my lady friend is beautiful. Oh Audrey!

Simple health tip that I sometimes try to remember to follow

Funny & Cute

Have you seen this video? Scared is scared. It's so so cute and I love it.

so you live in a dumpster, is life that bad?

stupid but so funny...

April 11, 2015


Dublin Ireland Whelan's

That is me. Singing some of my songs at Whelan's. It's hard to believe these pictures were taken two weeks ago. I feel like I just got back from Dublin, but no, it's been two weeks now. I miss my friends. Earlier today I was looking at flights – oh I am already dreaming of going back. But I probably will stay put for a while.

Dublin friends Ireland Howth

We didn't venture much out of Dublin. If we had more time, I would have wanted to, of course, but we only had a week and I wanted to spend it with the people. But the rest of Ireland is absolutely stunning and one of these days I'll take some time off (weeks, months, years!?) to travel around the country again. 

Dublin cat again Dublin 15 Dublin 16 Dublin Fumbally

I am still obsessed with the sunflower tahini spread (you can kind of see it in the picture, on the right) I had at the Fumbally the first day. 

Dublin cat Dublin selfie Howth

Wow, the quality of the "selfie" camera on the 4S is so so so bad – which I already knew but – SO bad compared to the newer iphones. But I never really take selfies so it's fine.

Dublin Guinness

And that's all the photos from our trip to Dublin. For the first time in a while, I don't have any travel plans at all planned, so expect loads of pictures of Paris. You know, the worst, right?

April 7, 2015


Candelaria Paris Eiffel Tower Valentina Paris France

Tonight I am home, after a hard day at work. Changing jobs again soon, going back to my old job, enjoying the last few days at beautiful, delicious, fantastic Candelaria. This week they made fish tacos with an amazing chipotle sauce. I swear, I'm hooked on that sauce.

Working at Candelaria has made me want to cook more, experiment with flavors and try new things. Carlos, one of the cooks, served me a bit of the new dessert – a sort of lemon crumble – because according to him, it is crucial to always know what you are serving and how things taste every day*. I love all lemon desserts. While some lemon zest on top didn't seem out of the ordinary, I was intrigued seeing him add a bit of black pepper. No surprise, it turned out to be quite delicious indeed. It's always amazing to see the new items on the menu and how they are made. I've talked quite a bit with Carlos, and I can tell you one thing for sure – a lot of work and thought goes into everything they serve there. The flavors, the presentation, everything. And I sure love it all.

*I shall always remember that. As well as Laura's fantastic advice that I now also apply at home: if you're leaving a room, scan it quickly to see if you can take anything with you to the next room. How many times have I left my shoes in the living room and gone back and forth leaving both my room and the living room looking messy? Very good advice!

Valentina St Germain Cocktail
Valentina Flowers Valentina Coolin Paris Valentina Kirkwood Valentina Be Frassy

Their new cocktail menu is stunning, too. They have a cocktail called "Orange is the New Black". I like telling people about how the writer of the TV show (and book!) went to Smith College, just like me. Then there's an avocado cocktail. Enough said. Go try it. The one cocktail with gin also has olive oil, which reminds me of the strange pairings at Pierre Hermé. Have you ever tried the vanilla & olive oil macaron? It's a must! 

Luckily all the work I have for tonight I can do sitting down. I am tired... So I've made myself a cocktail. Maybe it already exists and has a name but I wouldn't know. I made a whiskey sour and added some St Germain and some muddled cucumber. It was fantastic (I just finished it. Damn.)

After I spent a week in Dublin with one of my closest friends, Louise, it's been lovely to hang out with her some more here. She is moving back to Paris now, so I will get to see her way more often. Louise has such a unique and friendly personality. She is very impulsive which means we talk a lot about crazy ideas and spend some time daydreaming about crazy plans. Our latest one was a long trip far away... For now, I think we will both focus on work, but I do hope that works out at some point. Nothing makes me happier than traveling.

Valentina Le Mary Celeste

April 6, 2015


Dublin 1

I love going to Ireland. That's never been a secret. I love the people I've met there, I love meeting new friendly people, I love Guinness and I fucking love the cheap pecan maple pastries you get at Tesco or any little grocery shop. This time around I went for a week in March with one of my closest friends, Louise. We stayed at my friend Dara's who is seriously one of the best persons I know. 

Dublin 3 Dublin 4 Dublin 5

A mix of iphone pictures and a couple pictures taken on Dara's amazing Canon, I really didn't have to go through and delete that many because... well, I really did not take that many. It happens every time I go to Dublin. I forget to take pictures. Mostly disappointed I don't have any of Stevie, who I spent half my time with and is one of my favorite persons on the planet. How shall I remember what he looks like?
The photo above is me not believing how delicious the chocolate cake at the Fumbally is. Dara told me when I got there that I was not allowed to spend 12 hours a day at the Fumbally. He knows me, and knows this is actually something I could do... I love that place so very much. I had two amazing lunches there and ate that cake three times. YEP.

Dublin 2 Dublin 6 Dublin 7 Dublin 8

Dara has a cute little kitten. We became friends after I chased it for a few hours. I was left with some scratches, and in the end the chase was useless because the next day the kitten was scared of me again. Oh well. 
Louise and I were pretty lucky. The weather was mostly amazing. On the Sunday Louise went to Glendalough, I was with Steve at the Dublin co-op where we hung out in the sun, listening to people play music and talking to friendly faces. We walked around and the weather was just so nice. In the evening we went home and made venison and boar burgers with a side of braised mushrooms and a salad with raspberry-balsamic vinaigrette. I have good memories of that day. It was a good day. 

Dublin 9

I played the open mic at Whelan's on Monday and then a few songs at the Ruby Sessions on my last night. Loads of fun. I have a few more pictures to share, so look out for part II soon!

Dublin 10

April 3, 2015


VCD 1 VCD 2 Valentina Paris Winter Fashion
coat: Benetton • skirt: thrifted • earrings c/o Chandler the Robot • shoes: André • hat: H&M

Paris weather is nice. Yes, it can get very cold and yes it can get way too hot, but it's not the same freezing weather I experienced in Northampton, or the unbearable heat of the desert. These pictures were taken last month. I had my coat on (like a normal person in Paris winter) but I felt good. I hate when it's so cold, your body gets all numb... nope, this was just the perfect winter "oh hey I think spring is coming" day. It was a very nice day. I was taking Julia's Canadian friends around the Marais on an impromptu pastry tour. We went to five places, I think. I discovered Popelini – now I know where to go get my choux! This reminds me that I should stock up on Pierre Hermé vanilla macarons... they will stop selling them soon, and that is mighty sad. I shall do a wacky thing and freeze one to see how it does after a while in the freezer. 

I don't post too many outfit pictures these days. One, because I'm not that into fashion at the moment. Two, because I've put on weight (noticeably so). Three, because I keep wearing the same things! Again with the minimalism... But what can I say? I'm still trying to get rid of more clothes. If I hardly wear them, what's the point in having them? If I don't feel good in them, what's the point? 

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