The Hardware Societe

Perhaps I haven’t posted very many restaurant/bar/cafe reviews on my blog but I have been discovering at least one new spot every week. The dining scene in Paris is like a dream come true! I’m always stumbling across some quaint little place tucked away neatly in an alley.

Today was a sunny all day brunch restaurant called ‘The Hardware Société’ that a friend of mine had suggested. Don’t let the unsuspecting exterior fool you! It’s an Alice through the rabbit hole moment; once inside, you will be met with warm smiles from the staff and a flurry of activity.

The food matches the service in every way! I ordered the grilled mushrooms which came with a delicious dollop of pumpkin on the side, a sprinkling of peanuts that added to the delicious flavour of the mushrooms and two slices of bread. My friend ordered a popular dish comprised of baked eggs and a cauliflower purée. Needless to say, the presentation was top-notch and the prices were reasonable! I paid 14,50 euros for my meal and 4 euros for a cappucino making it a grand total of only 18,50 euros!

So, if you’re ever in Montmartre and looking for a fantastic brunch joint, be sure to pop into the Hardware Société for a fantastic meal that will not disappoint!

The Hardware Société
10 Rue Lamarck, 75018 Paris
01 42 51 69 03
Follow The Hardware Société on Instagram

Parisian Fashion & Beauty Trends

One of my favourite pastimes is people-watching and as a professional people-watcher, you notice things. Paris has made this sport even more convenient and easily accessible with its thousands of outdoor terraces. In fact, they are so dedicated to the idea of sitting outside that the cold can’t even stop them! The solution? Heaters, heaters, and more heaters. So I hereby present you with five Parisian fashion and beauty trends! (Please do not hesitate to correct me if I’m wrong.)

  1. Green Stan Smiths
    I don’t understand this trend but everyone else seems to. Let’s move on.
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  2. Red lipstick
    The red lip has become an emblem of Paris. I remember wearing red lipstick in London…stuck out like a sore thumb and made me feel VERY self-conscious it did but in Paris, you just blend in.
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  3. Less makeup is more makeup
    As mentioned above, the red lip may be symbolic for Parisian women but did I mention that its an EITHER OR situation? Either a smoky eye and a nude lip or a bold lip and bare eyes. You can’t have both because it’s all about looking EFFORTLESS.
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    (Christen Dominique Youtube)
  4. I-just-woke-up hair
    Again. It’s all about looking effortless. Great example is Caroline de Maigret.
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  5. Tights and trainers
    A common look I see is the green Stan Smiths, black tights with shorts, skirts or dresses. Not sure if this is exclusive to Paris but it’s happening.
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  6. Multi-coloured trousers
    Something I’ve always admired about French men is their ability to pull off trousers of any colour.
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  7. The basic colour palette: white, black, grey, navy blue, beige
    But…..a basic rule of thumb is to just stick with the basic colour palette! Simple, chic and stylish. I don’t see a lot of patterns and motifs so best to stay with plain colours as well!

 

 

 

To Dress Up Or To Dress Down, That Is The Question.

Interesting recent discovery: apparently, when the French say you look or dress really “American”, what they really mean is that you look vulgar. It’s the nicest thing they can say without saying, “Hey, you look vulgar.” Hello to the French way of being polite! Although, they could just leave the Americans out of it…
Twice, I’ve received this remark and both times I was wearing a dress/skirt that stopped 8cm above the knee with heels to match. Just as I would have back in Taipei, except ten times more conservative so as to try and fit in. Evidently, that didn’t work at all.
I know this is a controversial topic so correct me if I’m wrong but I have done some research and asked a few locals and well… I’m just trying to understand.

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Personally, a large part of going out is dressing up. Pre-game for girls is getting ready and doing each other’s make-up with a bottle of wine (or whatever alcoholic concoction of your choice). The other part is going out to town and taking in all the colourful, sometimes outrageous outfits of fellow party-goers. Then the rest of the night can commence in a flurry of social activity and more alcohol (wink*).

Paris…is a different ballgame. If you think that la ville de la mode will provide interesting eye candy to feast on when it’s time to venture out into the night and mingle, then you’re WRONG. If you want to see ridiculous outfits strutting down the cobbled streets of Paris, just wait for Fashion Week.
However, if you’re just going out, be prepared to look your most casual in jeans, a top and a pair of nice boots. Basically, what we’re going for here is “I tried but I didn’t try”. A casual chic vibe and sex hair with minimal (I REPEAT: MINIMAL) makeup always does the trick. The most you should ever put on your face is red lipstick. Can’t look more Parisian than that!

To be frank, I’ve toned it down immensely since arriving in Paris as I had previously lived in France for my exchange year so was already familiar with certain customs but it gets boring and every single time I’ve even attempted to dress slightly outside the norms, I’ve been met with judgmental stares and pursed lips which only leaves me feeling deeply constricted in terms of fashion choices.

All jokes aside, locals pointed out that dressing conservatively is also mainly for safety concerns which I can understand. You meet all sorts of hooligans who whistle and cat-call at women on the streets, even men who follow you from the metro station right to your doorstep!

Alors! In conclusion, when in Rome (Paris), do as the Romans (Parisians) do! You might learn some new things and while Paris does not always permit change, Parisians definitely do dress well! The men can pull off trousers of any colour, the women always emanate a natural beauty and everyone is always very put together. What are your thoughts?

The Parisian Dream: Realistic?

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Where does your mind wander off to when you hear the words ‘Paris’ or ‘France’? Does it conjure up images of endless pavements filled with sprawling terraces, the melodic chitchat of French and romantic fumes of cigarette smoke on a lazy summer’s day? Does your mind drift off into the streets of Montmartre while Edith Piaf’s ‘La Vie en Rose’ plays in the background? Or do you smell freshly baked baguettes instead?

If so, you’re not too far off but you’re not seeing the full picture either. More often than not, tourists and first-timers are shown the shiny side of town. Eiffel Tower, Galeries Lafayettes, Arc de Triomphe, Le Louvre, La Seine, Champs Elysées et tous les incontournables! And do you know what? That’s okay because it is part of what makes up the true essence of Paris.

What’s not okay is thinking that that’s all there is to this city. What about Chinatown aka the 13th arrondissement? The slums around Paris? The colourful graffiti and the kebab restaurants that can be spotted here and there but especially around Gare du Nord? All the places that tour groups avoid because they’re not always pretty?

Perhaps it’s just where I used to live, but people often seem to have a rather distorted image of what a Parisian lifestyle truly entails. You have French bureaucracy (which is your worst nightmare and that’s putting it lightly), you have some interesting people to put up with, not speaking French will render even the simplest tasks impossible or highly complicated and the transportation is a mess.

BUT

You have delicious bread. A friend of mine once said, “If it’s not made in France, it’s not a baguette.” I thought it was just arrogance….until now, and while I’m on the topic of food, what about the countless gastronomic restaurants that make this city a chef’s dream? The museums and exhibitions are top notch and there is ALWAYS one happening somewhere. Summertime is when you sit along the Seine and share a bottle of crisp rosé with friends, laughing about life. The architecture is gorgeous, for the most part, and the shopping is great!

I guess what I’m trying to say, and this goes for everything in life, is that one should always try to be as realistic as possible. This way, fewer people would be susceptible to the “Paris Syndrome” (It’s a real thing!). Falling in love with anything or anyone requires you to accept the flaws just as much as you accepted the beautiful and the positive!

$1 Make-Up from SHOP MISS A

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Prior to spending money on the website, I did A LOT of research by reading and watching various reviews. I learnt to avoid any “skin products” such as foundation, concealer and also tailored my order to my needs so I ended up getting all this:

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  • Metallic Cosmetic Pouch – Gold
  • AOA Perfect Setting Powder – Soft Light
  • AOA Diamond Lipgloss – Glitz
  • AOA Diamond Lipgloss – Posh
  • Pumice Stone – White
  • Princessa Tru Fusion Blush – 3 Hot Pink
  • Kleancolour Retractable Waterproof Lipliner – Hot Red
  • AOA Studio Lashes – Luella
  • AOA Studio Lashes – Rose

Each item was $1 and the shipping was roughly $1 as well, but the shipping ended up being more expensive than the item. In total, I paid about $18/16,37 euros which is still INCREDIBLY affordable. The items arrived in about 7-10 business days, as promised and was nicely bubble wrapped and packaged!

The cosmetic pouch and pumice stone were just some things I needed and are both excellent quality basics. The lashes look promising as does the lipliner but we’ll be trying those next time. Today, my main focus was the setting powder, the blush and the lipglosses. So let’s get into detail!

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AOA Perfect Setting Powder – Soft Light

I’ll be completely frank, I’ve never used many loose setting powders in my lifetime but I know how a good powder leaves your skin feeling (and looking!) so my opinion is that the AOA Setting Powder is BOMB! The finish is so smooth, the powder is fine and my only concern is that touching up when out will be a bit difficult, as with all loose powders.

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Princessa Tru Fusion Blush – 3 Hot Pink

Immediately with this matte blush, you notice that the packaging is $1. It is the cheapest, flimsiest packaging I’ve ever laid eyes on and it really is such a pity because the actual product itself is fantastic! It was EXACTLY the shade I wanted and was very pigmented. I’ve been wanting a coral blush recently and decided to add this one to the basket as all the other ones I had in my wishlist were sold out. Speaking of which, is it common to have products constantly sold out on Shop Miss A? They don’t restock that quickly either…

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AOA Diamond Lipgloss – Glitz & Posh

What can I say…Where do I start? These lipglosses are an AOA HOLY GRAIL! They’re comfortable, not sticky yet SO GLITTERY and they just look divine on the lips! I personally would pay more than a dollar for these glosses and definitely will be getting more from the Diamond Lipgloss collection. There isn’t a significant difference between Glitz and Posh but I prefer Posh on it’s own as it is a more pigmented pinky coral colour as opposed to wearing just Glitz on my bare lips. Glitz would be more of a lipstick topper lipgloss for me…for example, if you wanted to brighten up a red lip.

 


 

All in all, I am EXTREMELY satisfied with the quality of these $1 products! I’m sure I’ll enjoy the lashes just as much and am hoping the lipliner will stop my red Son&Park lip crayon and lip cube from bleeding.
One thing I did notice is that AOA products seem to be of much higher and more reliable quality in terms of packaging, the product itself etc. than those of other brands. Frankly, the packaging on the Princessa blush is so cringeworthy, I wonder if I’d ever be able to take it out in public…The only solution is to repot the blush! So, if possible, I will probably be buying more from AOA than from the other brands on Shop Miss A.
I will also be letting you know if I get an allergic reaction from any of these products but so far so good! Also, a good thing to know is that AOA Beauty Inc. and other brands on Shop Miss A have been certified by PETA as cruelty free!

Shop Miss A: https://www.shopmissa.com/

 

Korean Cosmetics: SON & PARK Part II

A little while ago, I wrote about their Skin Fit Foundation, their Gel Bonding Eyebrow (brow gel) and their lip crayons which were all just FANTASTIC products and generally worked beautifully. A little update, however, regarding the lip crayons: the darker shades, notably Flash Red and Wicked Burgundy tend to bleed so using a lip pencil is strongly advised.

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The same goes for the Son & Park lip cubes. The darker shades are absolutely gorgeous, especially Rubian Red which is an attention-screaming, heart-stopping fire engine red. Berry Rose is a lovely shade that compliments the Wicked Burgundy lip crayon. Unfortunately, Love Sick was a indeed sickly shade of pastel pink and looked terrible in real life while Nude Veil was just the perfect, every day gloss but gave me a horrific allergic reaction. Very strange as I have never gotten an allergic reaction to … anything. All in all, my experience with the lip cubes were 3/5 and I will be giving the two lighter shades away.

As for the Air Chou Foundation in shade 23, the colour match is perfect but as it is an Asian make up brand, you don’t get a wide range of shades. The texture is like nothing I’ve ever seen before, however, a little goes a long way so be sure to take heed of their advice! I didn’t on the second day and the foundation definitely needed a little setting at the end of the afternoon as it had gotten cakey.

Otherwise, I am so in love with it! Definitely more full coverage than their Skin Fit Foundation which is more of a light, healthy summer foundation that gives off more of a glow whereas the Air Chou Foundation has a matte finish and even managed to cover the redness of some spots.

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In conclusion, I’d say: Forget about the lip cubes, get the lip crayons as well as the brow gel! Don’t sleep on the foundations either because after all, the Koreans are best known for their amazing skin products!

Chateau de Chantilly

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If I had to sum up Chateau de Chantilly, I’d say it is a modest version of Versailles. The chateau, just 45 minutes away from Gare du Nord station in Paris, is a beauty surrounded by a moat with acres of gorgeous greenery and an enormous stable house (Les Grandes Ecuries or The Great Stables) just behind.

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Walking from Chantilly train station, however, you’d most likely reach the stables first. These impressive stables could house up to 240 horses and 500 hounds back in the day and is considered a masterpiece of 18th century architecture. Today, this impressive space has been turned into a horse museum (Musée Vivante de Cheval/Living Museum of the Horse) and filled with a variety of equestrian equipment that look very much like torture devices. Truth be told, the horse museum was not exactly my favourite part of the visit but the sheer size and grandiosity of the building is indeed breathtaking. The first part of the visit stops at a little cafe serving sandwiches, refreshments and crepes so that you’re ready for the next part of the trip which involves crossing the road over to the gardens and the chateau itself.

The gardens itself are so large that you’d need more than the little afternoon I had given myself to escape the hectic ambiance of central Paris. Still, I managed to poke my nose into L’île d’amour. How magical would it be in summer ? The November fog gives the place an almost eery feel, very reminiscent of a 19th century vampire movie.

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Inside, the Chateau is set up very similarly to Versailles. You’ll walk through rooms and rooms lavishly decorated with fancy armchairs, ornated tables and grand chandeliers that sparkle and glisten even hundreds of years later. What sets it apart completely, however, is the Musée Condé that houses the second largest collection of art after the Louvre. In here, you will find gorgeous pieces such as The Three Graces by Raphael and other works of art by famous artists such as Nicolas Poussin as well as my personal favourite: Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci by Piero di Cosimo. Also, can we just take a minute to talk about the library?! #Goals.

 

All in all, a calm and tranquil afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of Paris. Just don’t wear white trainers, haha!

Before I sign off, here is some practical information. The chateau, the stables and the gardens make up the Domaine de Chantilly. To visit the entirety of this domain, take an entire day off and bring 17 euros unless you are handicapped, a student, between 3-17 or unemployed, in which case you pay only 10 euros. If you only want to visit the gardens, it is 5 euros during low season instead of the usual 8 euros but I am definitely going back next Summer to finish my tour of the gardens! See you then!

For more information about tickets and opening times: https://newdomainedechantilly.tickeasy.com/fr-FR/accueil