July 15, 2019
A European's Guide to Shopping in the USA

A European's Guide to Shopping in the USA

July 15, 2019

shopping guide new york 5th avenue usa store louis vuitton nyc manhattan
The USA is shopping paradise for many of us. Huge stores, wide spaces, perfect decor… Americans sure know how to lure you in. Even window shopping is a real pleasure. I still remember how these stores amazed me the first time I was in the US 10 years ago. I was coming from a small city back then and they literally made my jaw drop. 

For those who may be headed to the US, I've created a complete guide to shopping in the USA so when you get there, you can shop like a pro.

WHAT TO BUY IN THE USA: WHAT’S CHEAPER AND WHAT’S NOT
American brands are cheaper, European ones are not.
Tech items, which tend to be rather pricey, are much cheaper in the US. If you need a new Apple gadget, you want a Roomba vacuum or a new lens for your camera, put some money aside and wait for your next US trip, you will save a lot of money.

The same goes for retail and skincare products, brands like Clinique or Abercrombie are way cheaper in America.
shopping guide new york 5th avenue usa store apple nyc manhattan
SALES TAX
One thing to always have in mind is that the price tag does not include the sales tax which varies from one state to another. For example, in NYC most purchases are subject to an 8.875% sales tax. However, some items are excluded from the sales tax such as clothing and shoes under $110 or unprepared foods for instance.
shopping guide levis union square san francisco california usa store
MY FAVORITE STORES
Every time I'm in the US, I pop by all of the following.
  • Anthropologie: I'd say this is my favorite one. The loveliest apparel, skincare and homeware all in one place. I love the mixture of cultures and styles of their products. It's like someone with impeccable taste finds the best products around the world and puts them all in one place.
  • Abercrombie & Fitch: probably the most famous American clothing brand among young Europeans. They have rebranded in the last few years and have left a little bit aside the "perfect" American poster boy image. Due to controversy in the past, they have become more inclusive and now offer sizes for different body types.
  • J.Crew: clothes and accessories to curate the perfect preppy closet.
  • Free People: boho-chic style for the modern hippy.
  • Kate Spade: this one is a bit more high end. Here you can find ultra feminine colorful clothes and the most fun accessories. 
  • All American designers Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren
  • WilliamsSonoma: if you like cooking like me, you can't miss this place. Here you can find every single item for your kitchen you can think of.
  • PotteryBarn: go here for beautiful homeware and furniture. The only bad thing about this place is that many of their items won't fit in your suitcase... 

shopping guide williams sonoma california san francisco usa store
MALLS & DEPARTMENT STORES
The most popular malls and department stores in the US are the following:

You can also find many outlet malls throughout the country that are worth checking out because they offer designer clothes at affordable prices.

MOST POPULAR STORES
According to a survey these are the most popular stores among Americans:

shopping guide new york 5th avenue usa store bloomingdales bloomies nyc manhattan
SALES CALENDAR
If you are lucky enough to be in the US around these dates, you can save even more money on your shopping.
  • President’s Day Sale: February
  • Memorial Day Weekend Sale: May
  • July 4th Summer Sale
  • Back-to-school/Fall Preview Sale: end of July – beginning of August 1
  • Labor day Weekend Sale: September
  • Columbus Day Weekend Sale: October
  • Thanksgiving Eve: November
  • Black Friday: November
  • After Thanksgiving Weekend Sale featuring Midnight Madness: November
  • Cyber Monday (online): December
  • New Year’s Eve Sales: December
  • New Year’s Day Sales: January

shopping guide new york 5th avenue usa store hollister nyc manhattan
SHOPPING FROM EUROPE
I like to check out the online stores of my favorite shops every now and then and I often feel tempted to order something. However, you shouldn’t consider shopping from Europe, online shopping on US sites is not worth it. Even though all sites offer international shipping, the taxes and shipping costs will add up almost as much as the price of the items you are buying.

Do you shop when you are abroad? What are your favorite brands?

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usa shopping guide nyc manhattan store california san francisco

July 1, 2019
4 Rooftop Bars to Try in Madrid this Summer

4 Rooftop Bars to Try in Madrid this Summer

July 1, 2019
mint rooftop vincci hotel gran via madrid terrace bar food truck cocktails
The heatwave is hitting Spain pretty hard. With temperatures over 40ºC/100ºF madrileños have to find a way to escape the scorching heat. What's the best place to do that apart from the pool? Rooftop bars and terraces! Cold drinks, breathtaking views and water sprays await. Let's take a look at 4 of the best rooftop bars in Madrid.

And if you need more ideas...

The first thing you notice when you enter this Gran Via Hotel is that it smells like...mint! The predominant color is mint as well. I love a place that keeps up with a theme. Sip a cocktail while enjoying the wonderful views and if you get hungry, there's a cute food truck from May to October which offers cheese and ham platters, hamburgers and Asian creations such as dim sum and Vietnamese spring rolls.

Address: Gran Vía, 10, 28013 Madrid
Phone: +34 912 03 06 50
mint rooftop vincci hotel gran via madrid terrace bar food truck cocktails
mint rooftop vincci hotel gran via madrid terrace bar food truck cocktails
mint rooftop vincci hotel gran via madrid terrace bar food truck cocktails
mint rooftop vincci hotel gran via madrid terrace bar food truck cocktails
mint rooftop vincci hotel gran via madrid terrace bar food truck cocktails
Gymage Lounge Resort is a fitness club, a theater, a restaurant and a rooftop terrace, all in the same building. The terrace is open all year long and includes a pool and a bar where you can order food and drinks all day long. During summer days (between 11 am and 6 pm) you can pay a fee to sunbath and swim in the rooftop pool.

Address: Calle de la Luna, 2, 28004 Madrid
Phone: +34 915 32 09 74
gymage lounge resort pool rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails
RADIO AT ME REINA VICTORIA
If you want to get a taste of Madrid nightlife, Radio -the rooftop of the ME Madrid Reina Victoria on Plaza de Santa Ana- is the right place for you. Great food and cocktails, DJ and of course...views. Radio rooftop is the best place to party all night long 🎵🎵🎵.

Address: ME Madrid, Plaza de Sta. Ana, 14, 28012 Madrid
Phone: +34 912 764 747
radio melia me reina victoria dj nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails
radio melia me reina victoria dj nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails
radio melia me reina victoria dj nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails
radio melia me reina victoria dj nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails
radio melia me reina victoria dj nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails
Nice to Meet you is the rooftop restaurant in Dear Hotel located in bustling Gran Via. This place has a 360º panoramic view of Madrid, from here you can see landmarks like Plaza de España and Palacio Real. The food is as good as the views -look at that scrumptious salad, perfect brioche bun and the cheesecake, yum!- but the restaurant manager was the rudest we've ever encountered which totally spoiled our meal.
nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails nice to meet you dear hotel madrid
nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails nice to meet you dear hotel madrid
nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails nice to meet you dear hotel madrid
nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails nice to meet you dear hotel madrid
WEAR THIS HERE

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June 24, 2019
4 Charming Towns to Visit in Spain this Summer

4 Charming Towns to Visit in Spain this Summer

June 24, 2019
beautiful pretty village small town spain old countryside medieval lavender field mountain festival lavanda guadalajara brihuega
From quaint little towns to white washed villages, there's no shortage of beautiful spots in Spain. There are literally thousands of places all over Spain worth visiting that you’ll be missing if you stick to big cities like Madrid or Barcelona. Some of Spain's most beautiful towns are small beach villages, others are surrounded by spectacular flower fields, there's one for every taste.

On this post I want to show you four charming towns that are among the best places to visit in Spain this summer. I promise you will find incredible food and dreamy architecture in every single one of them, so if that's your thing follow me on this tour around some of the most beautiful towns and villages in Spain.

BRIHUEGA (GUADALAJARA)
This small town that's only one hour away from Madrid hosts an annual lavender festival in July. The spectacular fields of Brihuega transform into a purple sea and spread the most amazing scent around the area. It's a wonderful experience for the senses.

The festival consists of concerts at nightfall and a gourmet experience for an unforgettable and magical experience. This year the festival is on July 19 and 20.

Read more about the Lavender Fields in Brihuega
beautiful pretty village small town spain old countryside medieval lavender field mountain festival lavanda guadalajara brihuega

beautiful pretty village small town spain old countryside medieval lavender field mountain festival lavanda guadalajara brihuega
BINIBEQUER VELL (MENORCA)
This dreamy white washed village is a must if you are visiting the beautiful Balearic Island of Menorca. This place is made up of white houses all linked together through intricate passages. It's as if someone have carved houses in a huge chunk of white stone.

Read my 5 day itinerary for Menorca
beautiful pretty village small town spain old binibequer island balearic menorca
beautiful pretty village small town spain old beach white washed binibequer balearic menorca
beautiful pretty village small town spain old white washed beach binibequer balearic menorca
FRIGILIANA (MALAGA)
This little village in the region of Malaga is considered one of the Pueblos Mas Bonitos de España (most beautiful villages in Spain) and it's the only one in the region of Malaga in that list. Frigiliana's charm lies in its beautiful streets where you can find white houses with colorful doors and bougainvillaea, closeness to the beach and its location at the foot of a mountain range. The people who live here take good care of the village, walls seem to be recently painted, streets are immaculate, there are beautiful flower pots everywhere and restaurants look like they've been decorated by professionals.

beautiful pretty village small town spain old southern andalusia beach frigiliana nerja malaga
beautiful pretty village small town spain old southern andalusia beach frigiliana nerja malaga
beautiful pretty village small town spain old southern andalusia beach frigiliana nerja malaga
GUADALMINA (MALAGA)
A quaint white washed village with colorful houses near Marbella. It's a lovely place to go for a late afternoon walk if you are in the area. But let me tell you something, it will be hard to choose a dream home from all the beautiful options.

Best beaches in Andalusia and the resorts to stay in
beautiful pretty village small town spain old southern andalusia beach guadalmina marbella malaga
beautiful pretty village small town spain old southern andalusia beach guadalmina marbella malaga
beautiful pretty village small town spain old southern andalusia beach guadalmina marbella malaga
WEAR THIS HERE

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beautiful pretty village small town spain old southern andalusia beach countryside medieval lavender field mountain balearic menorca

June 17, 2019
My Favorite Clinique Skincare Products

My Favorite Clinique Skincare Products

June 17, 2019
clinique beauty skincare top products serum moisturizer cleanser vitamin c orange powder
We have all started our love affair with beauty products by going through our mom's makeup bag, am I right? My mom's has always used Clinique and I started trying out their products when I was a teenager. Their quality is amazing and the packaging beautiful so it's not surprising that I fell in love with their skincare and makeup. So much so that I often refuse to try any other brand. Because when something works for you, why change?

I love sharing my knowledge and helping out and I think you can benefit from my experience with Clinique's products so on this post I'm sharing with you the best moisturizers, cleansers and serums from this great beauty brand. These are my Clinique must-haves:

The most amazing boost of vitamin C for the skin. It consists of a powder cleanser and a serum. The treatment is used for a week and the results are amazing. The skin tone looks more even and brighter than before. I use it twice a year and it's enough to see the difference.
clinique beauty skincare top products serum moisturizer cleanser moisture surge boost pink
CLINIQUE MOISTURE SURGE
This is my current moisturizer. It has a light refreshing texture that is absorbed so rapidly it feels like the skin is drinking it. It's an instant moisture boost that lasts the whole day.
clinique beauty skincare top products serum moisturizer cleanser even better
EVEN BETTER SERUM & MOISTURIZER
If your concern is scarring or dark spots, Even Better is the right product for you. The serum does a gentle peeling effect which removes layers of skin if you use it consistently. To increase the effect you can use the Even Better moisturizer and make-up.
clinique beauty skincare top products serum moisturizer cleanser 3 steps clarifying lotion soap dramatically different yellow
Clinique's 3 steps are their most famous beauty routine. It's a classic. Since I started using Clinique, they have discontinued some of my favorite products but the 3 steps have always been there. It consists of a face soap, a clarifying lotion which removes dirt and dead cells and the dramatically different moisturizer lotion. They are meant to be used twice a day.
clinique beauty skincare top products serum moisturizer cleanser exfoliating scrub
EXFOLIATING SCRUB
Cleansing is the most important part of my beauty routine. I love Clinique's scrub because it leaves my skin with a wonderful refreshing sensation.
clinique beauty skincare top products serum moisturizer cleanser take the day off scrub floarming
TAKE THE DAY OFF & FOAMING CLEANSER
My two favorite products for make-up removal are the foaming cleanser for foundation and take the day off for eye make-up.
clinique beauty skincare top products serum moisturizer cleanser hydroblur pep-start
PEP-START HYDROBLUR MOISTURIZER
This is moisturizer + primer in one product. It has a soft non-greasy texture and its thickness conceals fine lines. It's my favorite moisturizer together with Moisture Surge because they are not greasy at all and I recommend them if you are looking for a regular moisturizer with no particular skin concern.

Have you ever used Clinique? What's your favorite product?
Let me know if you have any questions about Clinique's skincare or beauty products.
Read more about my beauty routine

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clinique beauty skincare top products serum moisturizer cleanser vitamin c


June 10, 2019
The Best Basket Bag for Traveling this Summer

The Best Basket Bag for Traveling this Summer

June 10, 2019
sezane basket straw raffia leather bag summer trend wicker purse tote strawberries
Basket bags are my favorite to carry during summer months. They make me think of the outdoors -the beach, the countryside...- of long days and good weather. In recent years I've managed to build a small collection of basket bags in different shapes and sizes. I love this one for picnics, this other one for the beach and this little one with the pom-poms your see me wearing all the time for every day. However, my closet was lacking the perfect one for traveling. I was looking for a shoulder bag that wasn't neither big nor small. 
sezane basket straw raffia leather bag summer trend wicker purse tote strawberries
sezane basket straw raffia leather bag summer trend wicker purse tote strawberries
A month ago, I stumbled upon this Sezane basket which suits all my needs. I couldn't have imagined a more perfect summer bag for traveling. It comes in natural raffia fibre woven by hand and you have a choice between with or without the cute strawberries. The handles are made of leather. It is very versatile and it adds a natural texture to the outfit which I love.

A few weeks ago I posted on my Instagram Stories the unboxing of the bag. I had to share it with your because the packaging was impressive! The box had my name on it, welcoming to their new collection. The basket comes in a big dust bag which is great because I always store my bags in them. Every time I've ordered something from Sezane, it has included a gift. This time it was a little scarf which is the one I'm wearing on my hair. The scarf came with a card with pictures of how you can tie it to your hair, wrist and bags. I love details like these. Sezane never disappoints when it comes to quality and service.

Because I know you love straw bags as much as I do, I've rounded up the most beautiful baskets I've seen online which you can find throughout the post. They come in different shapes, colors, sizes and prices so there's one for every occasion and budget.
Let me know which is your favorite basket bag!

sezane basket straw raffia leather bag summer trend wicker purse tote strawberries
sezane basket straw raffia leather bag summer trend wicker purse tote strawberries
sezane basket straw raffia leather bag summer trend wicker purse tote strawberries


sezane basket straw raffia leather bag summer trend wicker purse tote strawberries