Category: Travel

The Best in Beauty From the Boot, Vol. 4: NABLA

Published in: Guest Post, Makeup, NABLA, Travel

NABLA Italian Makeup

Wearing NABLA’s grey eyeshadows on my eyes and NABLA Brow Divine in Uranus on my brows

Surprises are one of those things you either love or hate, and I definitely love them.

Well, provided they’re good surprises – obvs!

And you know when the last time I was pleasantly surprised was? When I recently placed my first NABLA order.

NABLA is a young independent Italian brand that was first launched in December 2013. Their mission is to create cruelty-free (and for the most part vegan) makeup products using the best ingredients and formulations, while keeping the retail price as low as possible.

Sounds interesting, don’t you think?

NABLA Italian Makeup

My NABLA order upon arrival

24 hours after placing my order for 12 eyeshadow pans, 1 magnetic palette (which I got as a free gift for purchasing the shadows), 2 lipsticks and 1 brow pencil, I got the smallest box I had ever seen — so small that at first I thought they hadn’t sent me everything.

But no, everything was there, perfectly packaged and intact. I really appreciated that they didn’t waste any unnecessary packaging material and space.

NABLA Italian Makeup

Let’s have a closer look at the products that stole my heart! :)

NABLA Eyeshadow Pans (€6.50/$7.40) + Liberty Palette (complementary)

NABLA Eyeshadows

I got this pretty magnetic palette as a free gift for purchasing 12 NABLA eyeshadow pans on If you buy 6 pans, you’ll get a smaller palette.

NABLA Eyeshadows

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The Best in Beauty From the Boot, Vol. 3: Deborah Milano

Published in: Deborah Milano, Guest Post, Makeup, Travel

Deborah Milano Atomic Red Mat Lipstick 01

Wearing Deborah Atomic Red Mat Lipstick in shade 01 on my lips and Deborah 24ORE Waterproof Eyeliner in Black on my eyes

Deborah Milano Italian Makeup

Deborah Milano is an Italian drugstore makeup brand, but today I’ll pretend she’s just a friend, because I’m pretty exhausted from working long hours at Cosmoprof, which is a huge beauty expo here in Bologna, for the past four days, and I could really use a friendly face.

Or a masseuse!

But anyways, let’s talk about Deborah. Born in Milan in 1962, she’s since made good friends with hundreds of thousands of Italian women by making beauty accessible to all of them, rather than just the élite, as it had been before.

Deborah is a really great girl. If you give her a chance, she’ll bring out and highlight your best qualities. She may embarrass you and make you blush sometimes…but I’m sure you’ll forgive her because of how she colors your life. Not to mention that you can count on her 24/7.

Today, I’m letting you in on a few of her secret weapons!

Deborah Milano Natural Effect Blush in 06 (€11.50/$12.90)

Deborah Natural Effect Blush in 06

You thought sponge-tip applicators were useless…?

Don’t be fooled by the cheap-looking plastic packaging. This blush is a real gem. The mauvy pink shade here, 06, is one of those that looks much better applied than it does in the pan. I think it looks really natural on my complexion, and it blends effortlessly and lasts a pretty long time for a powder blush. What more could you want?

Deborah Milano Radiance Creator Highlighting Concealer in 01 Light (€12.50/$14)

Deborah Radiance Creator Highlighting Concealer in 01 Light

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The Ultimate Italian Makeup Look May Not Be What You Expect

Published in: Face, Guest Post, Just For Fun, Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To, Travel

Italian Makeup Look

“Italians are always well-dressed.”

Who hasn’t heard that one at least once in their life?

It’s one of many stereotypes about Italians and, just like any stereotype, it’s not entirely true…but it does have a kernel of truth to it.

In my experience, people here are generally very concerned with the way they look, and they’ll usually put a lot of thought into what they wear.

There’s also a general sense of decorum that people are expected to observe. For instance, you’ll never see college students go to class in sweats and flip-flops. Here, dressing appropriately and looking nice are real social conventions.

So, what is makeup’s role in a country where most people always try to dress well and look good?

Well, Italians don’t normally use as much makeup as you might expect. A typical Italian look, which I’ve recreated for you today, will usually feature very few products.

Care to know which ones? :)

Foundation (often a shade too dark)

Italian Makeup Look

The foundation I’m wearing today is Diego Dalla Palma 2 W. W. Mattifying Foundation in 43 Warm Beige

That’s for two main reasons. The first one is that many people think the purpose of foundation is to make them look tanned, while the second one is that it’s pretty hard for those here with lighter skin tones to find the right color match.

The lightest shade of foundations from Italian brands will usually be my skin tone or darker and, although I’m pretty pale, I’m definitely not the palest. Even international brands will often have a more limited shade range here than abroad.


Italian Makeup Look

KIKO Flawless Fusion Bronzer in 03 Cinnamon dusted all over my face

Most Italians don’t contour very much, but they definitely like to bronze. A LOT.
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The Best in Beauty From the Boot, Vol. 2: Neve Cosmetics

Published in: Guest Post, Makeup, Neve Cosmetics, Product Reviews, Travel

Neve Cosmetics Elegantissimi Eyeshadow Palette Italian Makeup

My mug shot with the Neve Cosmetics Elegantissimi Palette. I was arrested for possession of too much makeup!

Neve Cosmetics, eh?

Neve is the Italian word for snow, and while any other day I’d start by telling you all about the beautiful reason behind this name, today I can’t associate anything positive to any form of water falling from the sky.

This is because it’s been raining for two awful weeks, and my meteoropathic self can’t take it anymore.

If you follow my blog, then you’ll know that it all started with me evoking an ancient curse and triggering the wrath of the gods, so I shouldn’t really complain, since this horrible weather is all my fault (*goes to cry in the corner*).

Instead of moaning, I should focus on the flowers in my metaphorical garden, just as Karen taught me. :)

Neve Cosmetics Blush Garden Tuesday Rose cream blush

Neve Cosmetics Tuesday Rose from the Blush Garden

Neve Cosmetics definitely adds many flowers to my garden, including this adorable rose blush and the inspiring philosophy behind the brand… They think that, just like snowflakes, all people are different and beautiful in their own unique way, and I personally share the same view. I believe that makeup should enhance your natural beauty, rather than mask it.

The Turin-based company also adds flowers to the lives of many by supporting nonprofits that help humans and animals alike, and all of their products are cruelty-free and free of silicones, parabens and petroleum products.

Neve Cosmetics Italian Cruelty-Free Makeup

Neve Cosmetics Italian Makeup

Neve Cosmetics products are all made in Italy with high quality ingredients

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Rambling Thoughts on Italy’s Two Souls, Feat. Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, and Memories of an Amazing Vacation in the Italian Deep South

Published in: Guest Post, Just For Fun, Travel

Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro 400 The Red Dolce & Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick Devil 620

Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro in 400 The Red ($38) and Dolce & Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick in Devil 620 ($34.50)

Italy has two very different souls, which coincide with its geographical extremes — the north (where I live) and the south.

For example, think about Milanese Giorgio Armani and Sicilian Dolce & Gabbana, Italy’s most influential designers… Could they be any more different?

Giorgio Armani perfectly embodies the soul of Milan, Italy’s financial center, located in the north. He is famous for designing everyday clothing for the career woman, and his signature piece is the white-collar uniform par excellence: the suit.

In 2009, he “invented” the always-appropriate greige color, a mix of grey and beige, which has since gained huge popularity in the beauty world as well (hello, Chanel Particulière nail polish!).

And after the ever-impeccable Cate Blanchett became the face of the fragrance in 2013, “King Giorgio” stated that she perfectly represents the woman he designs for. This, in my opinion, says a lot about his style, which I’d personally describe in two words: elegant, understated.

Stefano Dolce and Domenico Gabbana are from Italy’s southernmost region, Sicily, and their creations strongly exude Sicilian passion and tradition. Their most iconic piece is the bustier dress, and Sicilian black lace is their most used fabric. While Armani invented greige, Dolce & Gabbana made leopard print their signature.

Unsurprisingly, the celebrity who had the biggest role in establishing their worldwide popularity was Madonna. The Sicilian duo and the queen of pop share the same provocative, innovative style, a style both sexy and loud.

I think the differences between these designers really do reflect the actual differences between northern and southern Italy.

The north is more heavily industrialized than the south, and there’s more of a feeling that time is money. For instance, in the south, it’s considered rude, when randomly meeting someone you know, to not stop to talk to them extensively, while in the north, doing that is sometimes seen as impolite, because you might be keeping the other person from things they need to do.

The north is more modern, while the South is deeply attached to traditions and religion (I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but Dolce & Gabbana’s jewelry collection features lots of cross-shaped earrings and pendants).

People from the south tend to have a flashier style than northerners, who are usually more low-key.

Southerners are often loud and flamboyant, while northerners are more reticent to show their feelings and emotions. Screaming through the window at your friend who lives in the opposite building is perfectly normal in the south, while in the north it’s seen as terrible manners.

Something that you can’t see by just looking at Armani and Dolce & Gabbana is that many southerners are often very hospitable. If you’re ever invited to have dinner at a southern Italian’s, expect it to last five hours, and expect yourself to eat at least half your own body weight in one meal. And if you ever meet someone from the south, rest assured that they are going to invite you to dinner — and there will be no way you’ll be able to decline.

Also, expect acts of gratuitous kindness in southern Italy. A few years ago I went on vacation to Salento (the southernmost part of Italy’s heel) with two friends, and I remember being completely astonished that a gas station attendant had cleaned our dirty windshield for free, without us even asking. Things like that don’t really happen often (read: never) here in the north because, as I said, time is money!

I have truly amazing memories from that vacation in Salento. The beaches were gorgeous, the people were kind and the food was delicious…

Salento Italy Sant'Andrea beach

Sant’Andrea Beach, Salento, Italy

Stuffed Focaccia Salento Italy

A mouth-watering stuffed focaccia, a local specialty

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