Author Archives: admin

How To Do Your Makeup Like A French Girl

How-To-French-Makeup

“I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little – if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.” – Coco Chanel

The French invented Sephora, but don’t be deceived – most of the product on a French girl is not really makeup at all. A French woman adores her skin care, uses makeup to smooth her coloring and give her a natural glow, but she wouldn’t be caught dead in wild eyeshadows or heavy bronzers.

Her beauty icons are fresh faces like Françoise Hardy or Jane Birkin. A cat eye or a red lip here and there. Nothing too flashy. She accepts her age and doesn’t cake it over in thick foundations.

French-Faces

Here’s a step by step makeup routine to get a French girl face:

1. Skin Care

Skin care is the most important beauty routine for a French girl. The skin care industry in France is very lucrative and full of exciting product.

Cleanse in the evening: Use a cleanser like Vichy Pureté Thermale 3-in-1 One Step Cleanser and follow it up with anti-oxidant protection, like this La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water.

Once a week, add an overnight mask: This Avene Soothing Moisture Mask is a favorite amongst French girls.

Combat eye-puff with cornflower water: If you’re the sort to have puffy eyes (or just want to disguise your “I’ve-been-dumped-and-spent-all-night-up-watching-chick-flicks-with-a-box-of-kleenex face) try some Sanoflore Eau de Bleuet (cornflower water). Store it in the fridge, soak 2 cotton pads in it, and place the pads over your eyes to de-puff and relax.

Moisturize dry skin: In dry climates like Colorado, a product like Eucerin Original Healing Body Cream can go a long way to making your skin feel fresh and alive.

2. Priming

When you’re ready to start “doing your face,” start with a primer. Sometimes, good skin care and a tinted primer can work so well, you won’t even want the foundation.

Recommendations:
Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance, gives your skin a pearl glow
Prime Time™ Brightening Foundation Primer by Bare Essentuals, brightens the skin without an oily residue
Embryolisse’s Lait-Crème Concentré, a velvety moisturizer that does double duty as a primer, meaning you can hydrate and prime in a single step

French Makeup Icons

3. Light concealing/ Foundation

For slightly more coverage than a tinted primer, you can add a layer of concealer or foundation on top. The trick here is to be sure the look is very natural. Burn your Kim Kardashian contouring handbook immediately! Do NOT cake your foundation on.

If you cannot see your real skin, you’ve gone too far. Breakout the makeup remover and start over.

For a really natural look, I recommend a powder foundation (like Bare Minerals), so that you can build your foundation in light layers and avoid over-coverage.

4. A touch of blush

A light dusting of blush can sometimes accent that glowing French face. Like with foundation and concealer, we don’t want to over-do it. Blend and tread lightly!

Blush image

I love Dior’s blush – it looks like a bright color but dusts on like a soft morning glow that adapts to your skin tone. More about that here.

5. Liner

Most people think of a winged Brigitte Bardot tip when trying to emulate the French look, but the truth is that many French beauty icons also go for a more natural pencil look or avoid eyeliner entirely.

The rule of thumb for any liner, though, is to keep your lines thin and close to the lash base. You want to make your lashes look fuller… not like you just got out of a bar fight.

Eye-Liner-French-Style

Keep it clean by only lining your top lashes in black. Line your bottom lash line in brown or avoid that area entirely for a truly clean and retro touch.

6. Mascara

Mascara is essential to the flirt. In addition to the darker color, mascara helps shape the lashes and elongate them.

Even if you’re abstaining from liner, mascara is essential to creating that wide-eyed doe look that goes so well with a French pout.

7. The Red Lip

To be used with caution.

Those red lips pop best when paired with neutral clothing, toned down makeup, and tousled hair. Anything that distracts from the punch of the red will simply unravel its allure.

On the other hand, red lips can be a great go-to when you’re wearing an outfit that seems too casual, thrown together… lacking oomph! A red lip makes my thrift store tee and black skinnies look très chic when I’m running out the door with no time to accessorize. A swish, a pucker, and I’m ready for anything!

Happy primping, my chic Goutasters!

French Elegance Meets Japanese Refinement: Epernay Lounge

EpernayLoungeReview

Just like the thousands of bottles of Champagne maturing under the streets of Épernay, France, Epernay Lounge hides just under the Downtown Denver bustle in a cool cave of French luxury and Japanese refinement.

Epernay

Happy hour offers the ultimate in French treats like Champagne and oysters with Japanese accompaniments. Order $3 handrolls or $5 maki to go with your glass of bubbly for a delightful twist on the classic pairing.

SushiCocktails

Epernay also has an extensive Champagne selection (the largest in Denver). My favorite French cocktail to make at home, the Kir Royal, is even on the drink menu along side some other delicious creations like a Samurai Old Fashioned that had everyone at the table gawking.

The Epernay rolls are definitely innovative featuring ingredients like jalapeno yellowtail to the even more exotic Blue Devil, highlighted by deviled egg filling and topped with blue cheese.

JalapenoYellowtail
BlueDevil

The Blue Devil was sort of an accident, really, when the staff had extra deviled eggs from a catering event and decided to make some experimental sushi for themselves. The results were so tasty, the roll eventually made it to the menu.

The Papa Bear roll also features some unusual filling: seaweed salad. It adds a great texture to the roll and some acid as well.

Sushi

These non-happy hour rolls wont break the bank either at just $7 – 12 for most. So grab some friends, pop a bottle, and indulge at Denver’s best kept sushi secret.

How do you like to indulge after work? What are some of your favorite ways to fuse French and Japanese cuisine? Let me know in the comments!

The Truffle Cheese Shop

Truffle

There are stores that sell cheese and then there are actual cheese shops; The Truffle is the latter.

With their new wine and cheese bar opening up in the Highlands, it’s time now more than ever to check out this 6th Avenue cheese store where it all started.

Walking in through the bright yellow door at The Truffle can be kind of overwhelming. The whole room smells like a mixture of pungent cheese and is covered wall-to-wall in imported European goods.

The deli counter is packed with enormous cheeses ready to be cut-to-order while small refrigerators on the perimeter hold little morsels perfect to snatch and take home by the wheel.

The Truffle’s staff is incredibly friendly and knowledgable. Want a taste? Not a problem!

The staff readily gives you little bites on these adorable small plates. They are so cute, you may ask for more samples even if you’ve already picked your winner!

Cheese Taste

The Truffle Cheese Shop has got it all when it comes to your cheesey needs. And don’t forget a baguette! They’ve usually got a few on hand.

You’ll also love The Truffle for their occasional excursions to Fruition Farms and their hospitality when it comes to sharing some unpasteurized cheeses they bring back from abroad (which are illegal to sell in the states, but quite legal to eat).

If you’re looking for that truly French feeling of knowing your cheesemonger, The Truffle has you covered. Though, don’t blame me if this little secret ends up gaining you a few extra pounds as well!

Do you have a favorite cheesemonger? Have you been to The Truffle? What’s your favorite cheese shop? Let me know in the comments!

French Baguettes: A Guide

French Baguette

The baguette is more than just a delicious treat: it’s an essential part of your French persona. If you can’t carry Hermès, carry a baguette under your arm for instant Frenchie-cred.

“How can a nation be called great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?”
― Julia Child

Two Types of Baguette

There are really only 2 types of baguette (bag-EHT) you need to know about: une baguette parisienne (pahr-ee-zee-EHN) and une baguette de tradition (trah-dee-see-ON). Most vendors in Denver wont use this language, but it’s still useful to know the difference.

A baguette parisienne is my favorite type of baguette. It has a crispy exterior and a soft, white interior. The ends are rounded.

A baguette de tradition can only be made from only four ingredients (flour, leavening, water, and salt) per a 1993 French law. The baguette is often characterized by pointed ends and French bakeries spend a lot of time perfecting their recipe.

You’ll mostly find a baguette de tradition when in Denver bakeries, so look out for those distinctive pointed ends!

How To Pick Out A Good Baguette

– Look for a baguette that is sturdy rather than light for its size
Avoid braille-like dots on the bottom (that’s a sign of an industrial baked baguette)
– Choose a baguette with uneven color on the crust (it’s a sign that the baguette was baked by hand)
– The inside of a good baguette will have irregular holes when torn (as opposed to a flat surface full of tiny, regular holes)
– A quality baguette should smell slightly like apricot

3897644114_17b4f3da62_b

Where To Find A Good Baguette In Denver

Le Trompeau (Trompeau Bakery)
2950 S Broadway
Englewood, CO
80113
(303) 777-7222

Marczyk’s Fine Foods
770 E. 17th Ave.
Denver, CO
80203
(303) 894-9499

Grateful Bread Company*
425 Violet Street
Golden, CO
80401

Babettes Artisan Bread
at The Source
3350 N. Brighton Blvd. Suite 40,
Denver, Colorado
80216

*Grateful Bread Company only offers retail sales one day a month, but you can sample their delicious baguettes at Z Cuisine or at Le Jardin Secret chef’s market)

October is for Francophiles – Denver Goes French!

Populaire

There are quite a few things going on in Denver this month to please all you Francophiles out there. Here are a few events I’m looking forward to:

Populaire

POPULAIRE at the SIE Film Center
Shows Daily at 4:30 7:00 (NO 7:00 show Wed or Thurs)

Replacing this past week’s French film, Thérèse, is Populaire. This Mad Men inspired Rom-Com is sure to be amazing, staring Déborah François and Romain Duris. The SIE Film Center puts on a great French-language film festival every year and I’m always impressed with their selection of French cinema.

—-

Classic Techniques: Essentials class at Cook Street
Monday, October 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th 6:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Live out your top-chef fantasy in this course, focused on the basic techniques behind French cooking. You’ll learn the basics of eggs, knife skills, proper grilling techniques, cold sauces and their uses, and all about roasting.

$389 for 4 classes.

—-
CookStreet

Classic Techniques: French class at Cook Street
Tuesday, October 15th, 22nd 6:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Jacques Pepin has nothing on us… well, he does, but perhaps we can narrow the gap a bit with a 2-part class on classic techniques, focused in the Provence and Burgundy regions of France. A complete meal with wine is included with each class — which, let’s face it, is really the main motivation behind cooking anyway.

$189 for 2 classes.

—-

hero-passport-to-paris

Passport to Paris at the Denver Art Museum
October 27, 2013 – February 9, 2014

Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec are all on display starting at the end of this month. Take your eyes on a journey that typically only French eyes have the pleasure of seeing.

Purchase tickets online or call 720-913-0130.

Which French events are you most excited about in October? Do you prefer your Francophilia in food, cinema, or fine art?

Bitter-sweetbreads: The Last Supper

twelve-restaurant-closing

Goodbyes are hard.

Especially the goodbyes you’re not ready for. There are things you still want to say, memories you want to hold on to, and that stupid, hopeful speck of denial that maaaybe things aren’t over after all.

This weekend, one of my favorite restaurants in Denver will be closing, at least momentarily, and I’ll have to say goodbye to this place that has hugged my soul and kept it warm in so many ways.

To be frank, guys, I’m simply not ready.

Twelve has been my most reliable restaurant – the place I’d go when I needed no-fuss service, a big glass of wine, and food I could really count on. As such, Twelve has seen me through the most maddening breakups, joyful celebrations, and many a long, hard day. In short, this restaurant, with its generous staff and heartwarming food, has become one of my best friends over the years I’ve lived here.

After Saturday night, my friend is moving away for a while, and taking with her the rotating menus I’ve explored month after month, the gorgeous custom wood bar and its matching wine glass rack built for Chef Osaka by one of his staff, and all of the friendly faces that made so many Tuesday nights just plain better.

twelve restaurant closing

As I slipped into the bar again this Tuesday, I noticed that Twelve’s staff has already started lining up their next opportunities. Some are going off to new restaurants opening this fall while others will go to some of my current favorites. Others yet are trying to reform some of Denver’s needs-improvement spots – and to be fair, I hope they do. I hope these talented people continue to grow. But there is something about this transition that feels like a graduating class parting and going their separate ways – only, there are so many more people invested in seeing a one-day reunion of this dream team.

The chefs and front-of-house passed around a menu on Tuesday night, signing it like a yearbook with so many memories and bonds forged behind their names. And yet, this one menu could not possibly represent the years that Twelve has been in service, changing its offerings monthly with the seasons.

Twelve

I actually started following Chef Jeff Osaka’s career before I even knew who he was – I was just a young girl in Santa Monica, lusting after the menu at Mélisse and cringing at its prices. To find a former Mélisse chef making his own menu in Denver at a price point I could afford had to have been a gift from the foodie gods, and one that I embraced whole-heartedly.

Chef Osaka’s prix-fixe format on weekdays reminded me of home, that is, the home I built in Paris in 2009. On the rare occasions I could afford to eat out in those days, I would always opt for prix-fixe 3-course meals as this was the most affordable (and enjoyable) way to dine out in France. Americans don’t typically embrace multi-course eating as much as their French cousins, so it’s much more rare to find the experience offered in the States. A $38 prix-fixe at Twelve, however, will quickly make you a convert.

But as I ran my fork through the deep red berry under Tuesday’s aloe jelly dessert, I was flooded with emotion. It just hit me: the three courses I pick for my dinner tomorrow night will not just be another three courses. They will be the final three – the last supper – the ultimate taste – the goodbye kiss.

This is worth planning, worth calculating, worth enjoying in all its mixed emotions – my sweet and painful last moment in this place is coming faster than I am ready for, but it’s been a beautiful ride and I’m happy to be able to sit at the bar where we first met and give Twelve a proper goodbye. The goodbye it really deserves after such a great journey.

So cheers, my friend – and may Saturday’s dinner just be a “so long for now!”

Three DYI Foodie Care Packages For Mother’s Day

Marczyk's Mother's Day Shopping

Mother’s Day is fast approaching and this year there are three very important mothers I need to celebrate:

1. Tina, my own mother
2. Nancy, my boy’s mother, who adopts me when I can’t afford a plane ticket on holidays
3. Josette, my realtor, who has taken care of me like an Italian mother since I moved to Denver

“Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate. ”
― Alan D. Wolfelt

Food is Love

All three of the mothers on my list love to cook and eat, so I thought it’d be a great time to make them up some delicious treat-packages, tailored to each of their tastes. Marczyk’s has been my one-stop-shop for those special tastes and specialty foods you can’t find at a regular old supermarket. It’s also a quick and easy gift if you’re running out of time like me!

Mother's Day Packages

After assembling all the goodies, I put them into these storage containers for easy travel, accompanied by a cute Marczyk’s paper bag to show where everything came from. Below you can find my shopping lists for each mother.

Tina: The Mom Away From Home

My actual mother lives in Los Angeles, which is a good distance away from Denver. So for mother’s day, it was important that I make my mom feel closer to me than she actually is. I wanted to send her a care package full of local Colorado products.

In Tina’s Gift:

Nancy: The Nutrition-Conscious Mom

Nancy is my boy’s mother and not only is she a southern mom with lots of foodie-love to share, but she has also recently become very nutrition-conscious. Often Mother’s Day gifts involve boxed chocolates or super sugary pies, but I wanted to give her some delicious treats that could still fit in her diet.

In Nancy’s Gift:

  • 1 Jar Saso Chile Pequin Hot Sauce | every southern mom needs a good hot sauce
  • 1 Coffee Cup
  • 1 Jar MMLocal Old Orchard Plums | nature’s candy
  • 1 Squeeze Pack of Justin’s Almond Butter | natural almond butter is tasty, but still on-diet
  • 1 Container of Smoke Falksalt | specialty salts can add lots of flavor to low-fat meals
  • 2 Mini Askinosie Chocolates | everyone still needs a little treat, and these are just the right size

Josette: The Euro-Savvy Mom

Josette is a strong Sicilian woman with an amazing kitchen, but I don’t know how she has the time to cook the gorgeous meals she does with all the work she puts in for her real estate job. I wanted to give her some European treats with a contemporary feel.

In Josette’s Gift:

  • 1 Coffee Cup
  • 1 Pack Maestri Italian Pasta (Imported) | to satisfy her Italian tastes
  • 1 Spray Bottle of Olive Oil By L’Olivier | for when you just need a spritz, my favorite French olive oil comes in a convenient spray bottle now
  • 1 Hammond’s Chocolate Bar | for a sweet tooth that’s not too sweet
  • 1 Squeeze Pack of Justin’s Chocolate Almond Butter | an almond variant on the euro-popular Nutella

The above themes were perfect for the mothers in my life, but why not try tailoring some packages to your mother’s tastes? Here are a few ideas:

Is she a franco-foodie? Try some L’Olivier oils with a fresh baguette and French cheese.
Does she have a sweet tooth? Try a selection of Hammond’s candy goodies.
A coffee connoisseur? How about some exotic beans from all over the world or some rare local blends.

Let me know what you come up with! And moms, let me know what you think! Would you like to receive one of these care packages from your children?

FIVE at FIVE™ {Dinner #4} Review — Luau

LuauDenverFive

The final Denver dinner from the Denver FIVE™ was a huge luau in downtown Denver. The old District Meats space was decked out with luau gear to welcome us and send the FIVE™ chefs off to their out-of-state dinner this month at the James Beard House in NY.

Drinks came quickly out the bar, featuring tropical inspired cocktails and summer wines: “Muay Thai” Mai Tais, “Ernest Goes to Rio” Hemingway Daiquiris, and “Road to Singapore” Straights Slings.

Delicious fish and tomato appetizers were also passed around for guests to nibble on while the luau buffet lined up.

DenverFiveLuau

Chef Brian solidified that this was his event by bringing out and carving an entire kalua pig.

BrianLairdKaluaPig

The other 4 chefs each prepared a luau inspired dish that was served buffet-style. Here’s the “before and after” of what my glorious plate looked like after a trip down the line (cocktail to go with it all, of course!):

LuauPlate

I may have gone back for seconds.

Following this epic meal, the FIVE™ team took off to New York for a dinner at the James Beard House, which cost New Yorkers a pretty $170. Denver FIVE™ returns to Denver on October 21st with a meal for $75, making this a real bargain you should all get your hands on.

Check out the previous Denver FIVE™ meals (Breakfast for Dinner and Willy Wonka) and then make sure to check back on the FIVE™ website for updates on the next FIVE™ event!

How to Blush Like a French Girl

Blush

“The most beautiful makeup for a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy.” -Yves Saint Laurent

A Parisian will never overdo it on her makeup, but she’s definitely got a few makeup tricks up her sleeve. Here’s how I fake (and boy do I mean fake!) an awake and flushed look all day while keeping it natural:

Dior to Make You Blush

This blush may look over-the-top in its container, but it looks absolutely natural on the cheeks. The pink blends differently with every skin tone, but it’s always a creamy, un-shimmery glow that looks fabulous on the apples of the cheeks.

Blush image

Dior helps you nail the French-girl trick of effortless style by making you look awake and flushed without any trace of makeup.

I apply this blush with the included brush, but a big fluffy round brush would make it look even more natural. Experiment with layering the color to find your perfect level of pink.

$44 at Sephora

For more on French style, check out my posts on Luxury Basics and Offbeat Chic. Let me know what you think of these tips in the comments!

Confession: Why I Hate the Eiffel Tower

Ihatetheeiffeltower

Can you picture Paris without the Eiffel Tower? I can. And so can many Parisians.

The truth is that I don’t really like the landmark and – while I’m blowing your mind – here’s another confession: I lived in Paris for 6 months without even so much as one step on the steel metal icon.

I know, I know.

“But why Emily? What has the Eiffel Tower ever done to you?”

In truth, nothing. The tower is not really what I dislike so much as the American or tourist perception of it.

Unfortunately, many Americans romanticize the Eiffel Tower in part because of some really sneaky myths that have been floating around cinema, photography, and art for years. But I think it’s finally time to debunk them and replace them with some better Parisian ideals, so here we go:

Myth: The Eiffel Tower is in the center of Paris

I know, you’re gasping for breath. You cannot fathom a Paris without the Eiffel Tower in the center, but the Eiffel tower is actually not Paris’ central monument – Notre Dame is.

ParisArrondissementsMap

If you look at a map of Paris, you can see that the neighborhoods or arrondissements spiral outward around a little island in the middle of the Seine called, “île de la cité.” Historically, this island was the original Paris, and Notre Dame sits right in front of its “gound zero.”

You can actually go stand on the “center of paris” point in Paris right in front of the old cathedral, but you wont see the Eiffel Tower anywhere near you. Why’s that? The Eiffel Tower is actually off to the southwest corner of the city in the 7th arrondissement.

“But you can still see it from anywhere in Paris, right?” Nope.

Myth: The Eiffel Tower is really REALLY tall

There’s this idea that everywhere in Paris has a grand view of the Eiffel Tower. This is just silly.

Knowing that the Eiffel Tower is not in the center of Paris is half the story, but the other half is just that the Eiffel Tower is not that tall.

New York’s skyscrapers dwarf the tower. And its thinness makes it even more transparent – kind of just like a little pokey in the Paris skyline.

Here’s the view of the Eiffel Tower from 4 stories up at the Centre Pompidou:

view-centre-pompidou

View of the Eiffel tower

So if this is the view you get from 4 stories up in almost the center of the city, just imagine how frequently you see the Eiffel Tower on your daily jaunt about Paris.

Myth: It has the best views in the city

The panorama I used for the cover photo of this post is taken from Sacre Coeur in the 18th Arrondissement. I think this view is infinitely more breathtaking than the Eiffel Tower’s. Other friends of mine have preferred the view from atop Notre Dame, the Tour Montparnasse, or the Centre Pompidou.

I have yet to hear from anyone who prefers the view from the Eiffel Tower’s observation deck after viewing Paris from any other location.

Perhaps the only thing I’ve enjoyed about the snapshots taken from atop the Eiffel Tower is that you can’t see the Eiffel Tower in them… of course, as I mentioned before, that’s true of most anywhere in Paris (outside of Hollywood).

Myth: It is romantic

I can’t count the number of engagement photos I’ve seen taken at the Eiffel Tower, but the reasoning has always escaped me.

Gustave Eiffel never intended for his tower (and yes, he called it his tower) to be romantic. It was a statement of strength and power; he compared it to egyptian pyramids.

The most romantic minds in Paris were actually sternly against the tower:

“We, writers, painters, sculptors, architects and passionate devotees of the hitherto untouched beauty of Paris, protest with all our strength, with all our indignation in the name of slighted French taste, against the erection… of this useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower…” -Committee of Three Hundred (including Charles Garnier, Guy de Maupassant, and Adolphe Bouguereau)

Taking Paris to New Heights

To be totally fair, I don’t really hate the Eiffel Tower intrinsically. The real reason I don’t like it is because it distracts tourists from the parts of Paris that I really love — it creates a fictional Paris that is nothing like the one I wish to share with the world.

Maybe the Parisians enjoy this. Keeping their beautiful city hidden behind the shadow of a massive metal structure, drawing all the tourists to it like some sort of fly-catching light-trap.

tourists-eiffel-tower

But if you’ll entertain me for a moment, I’d like to share with you just 3 of the many Parisian landmarks you’re unlikely to find in a cinematic representation of the city, but landmarks that I’ll argue are just as worth your time.

Marché des enfants rouges (which I mention as a top destination for the foodie on a budget) is also one of my favorite unconventional Parisian landmarks. It exemplifies so much of what I love about Paris: food, artisans, community.

La Pagode is one of Paris’ most stunning arthouse movie theaters. Japanese gardens, silken walls, and 19th-century Japanese style grace this gorgeous cinema on rue de Babylone. It’s not only a fitting tribute to Paris’ cinematic legacy, but also full of history.

la-pagode-julien-hausherr-paris

The Institut du Monde Arabe and the Mosquée de Paris are almost too special independently to be grouped together, but they both represent a large population of Paris that is often underrepresented in the media. The Institut is an architectural masterpiece that could make the Eiffel Tower look like chicken scratch and it also houses some of the most amazing exhibits on Arab countries. The Mosquée nearby offers incredible ethnic cuisine in the same theme.

Institut du Monde Arabe

So the next time you gaze lovingly at a picture of the Eiffel Tower in a guide book, longing to slap on a béret, grab a crêpe, and walk up to the observation deck, I hope you’ll remember that that tower is just a little speck of dust in Paris’ vast cultural landscape.

How do you feel about the Eiffel Tower? How about a popular landmark in your own town? Let me know in the comments!