beauty, fashion, & lifestyle

Digital content and communications strategist.

"Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all nighttelling itself stories." -Jonathan Gottschall


If it’s a Sunday (“dimanche”) and it’s raining, you can bet I’m looking at pictures of Paris. When I went a few months ago, it was my second time - but I hadn’t been back for almost a decade since I studied abroad there in the fall of 2009.

Despite not being in an environment to speak and hear French consistently for years, returning felt like home - even more so because this time it was with Paul.

During our few days there we couldn’t resist filling our camera rolls with photos of anything and everything simply because when in Paris (or perhaps France in general) everything just feels that much more elegant and delightful. Even the street art.

Even though it is in English…

Even though it is in English…

And of course, everything tastes more… je ne sais quois… no, I’ve got it: buttery.



The oldest pastry shop in Paris — there since 1730.

It is conveniently located on rue Montorgueil, which, just a few storefronts down is home to Fou de Pâtisserie, a shop that carries an ever-changing, curated selection of treats from acclaimed pastry shops all around Paris in one place.

This Stohrer caramel eclair was just the start before we sampled a Paris Brest, passion fruit cream puffs, and an almond crust tart with fresh figs, fig jam, hazelnuts, and basil.

Adulting is when you make plans far in advance to eat a breakfast comprised exclusively of Paris’ best pastries, right? Thankfully Paris is an amazing walking city.

I am also convinced that French water (and air? And maybe literally everything?) is the secret to the best skin ever. Every time Paul and I see these pictures we marvel at what we can only describe as “that French glow.”

Which brings me to French skincare… when I lived in Paris, I was pretty strict with my (student) budget. Splurging was reserved for dining out or saying yes to an afternoon pastry, just because (in another life I would strategically move next door to a Pierre Herme shop). Years later, in becoming a sometimes beauty blogger, I’ve tested hundreds of products - I don’t typically purchase them on my own. This time, I allowed myself to splurge during a few visits to the famed French pharmacies, where you can find gems like anything from Caudalie at a friendlier cost than in the states, the cult-favorite “everything” product Biafine, and one of my favorite cleansers, the Cleanance Cleansing Gel by Eau Thermale Avène. While nowadays there is access to many of these products online (you can easily add the Avène cleansing gel to your cart on Amazon— even Walgreens!), I found it to be romantic and rewarding to see the store displays for myself and converse with the pharmacists in my admittedly nervous French.

I’m always very meticulous in reviewing the packaging and labels of beauty products and so I was SHOCKED when I got home and unboxed the Biafine to discover that right there on the back of the tube it says “Johnson & Johnson.” On the box it says “JJSBF” so I had no idea I was actually purchasing a product by the very company I was about to rejoin in a few weeks (Biafine was acquired by J&J back in 2004, apparently). Team, if you’re reading this, I will happily hop on a plane to France anytime.


I have an emotional connection to so many photos, memories, and places in Paris. I love the city so much that I almost have a crippling anxiety over what to share on social media because THERE IS SO MUCH TO SAY - isn’t that silly? If there’s anything you want to know more about, let me know in the comments.

© 2018 Pauline L. Ma
Background image by Alexander Leong