By Stephanie Gerry, Contributor
My November arrival to Paris, France happened just as Mother Nature had begun her bitter cold, monochromatic, extended season of beauty sleep (aka “winter.”) I encountered no lovers…but plenty of scowling faces, no poetry…but an abundance of beggars…and no color, just cold, wet shades of grey.
The so called “City of Lights” was quite the contrary.
It was a rough start, but after months of living in the dark…I FINALLY saw the light (In Texas we called this light the sun!)
By mid-March the songs of the birds and the slight warming of the earth had finally interrupted Mother Nature’s slumber, giving life and color to the dull facade of Paris!
As I’ve carefully watched this city change from a lifeless pencil sketch to a richly-colored canvas, I’ve learned a few things about the beauty of simplicity.
Prior to moving to Paris, I would have never associated this city with simplicity.
It’s known for grand palaces, indulgent desserts, exquisite art and architecture fit for a King. However, these details didn’t make Paris any more beautiful than any other cold, grey city. It wasn’t until Mother Nature “woke up” that the simple beauty of Paris came to life.
Paris in the spring –or “Paris au Printemps” (a Francais)–has been a magical transformation from dark to light…death to life.
In a matter of weeks, the sky has turned from dark grey to a gentle blue with whip cream clouds, the once dead and frozen earth is alive with lush green grass, and the thin, naked branches have blossomed into beautiful canopies lining the streets.
Mother Nature has debuted her spring fashion line and outfitted Paris in a beautiful, yet simple, breath of fresh spring air!
Inspired by Mother Nature, I too packed away the layers of black and grey that I’ve been buried in since November and climbed up our little ladder to the attic and found the small box of spring or “colored” clothes I’d brought with me.
Now, moving to Paris has taught me many difficult– yet valuable– lessons some of which share a common theme of “simplicity,” while others have helped me to define “need” over “want” (wow…I’m growing up!)
So, rather than rushing out to spend money I don’t have on new things to occupy space that will never exist.
I thought, “Hmmm, I didn’t see Mama Nature with the latest Louis Vuitton bag or Christian Louboutin heels, but she sure came alive with the a splash of color, a touch of sunshine, and a little maintenance.”
I didn’t really need a new wardrobe; all I needed was a fresh “coat of paint” and a little “manicuring” to mimic the simple beauty of Paris in the spring!
Mimicking Paris Au Printemps
Start by putting away those winter “blues,” blacks and greys.
Go through your closet and pull out the heavy sweaters, scarves, winter coats and warm boots. It’s time to pack away all the colorless layers you’ve been drowning in for months.
Make room for some sunshine, some color and some workout clothes!
Getting a workout in will give you numerous health and beauty benefits! Translucent winter skin will soak up a bit of color from an outdoor sweat session, and getting your blood pumping will give your skin a glow! You’ll also whip yourself into “sun dress shape,” boosting your confidence and your health!
The Cherry Blossoms in the Parc Champ de Mars are a great example of nature’s “makeup.” They are simple, fresh, and gorgeous with just a touch of color that enhances, but doesn’t overwhelm its environment.
- Try trading in your foundation for some tinted moisturizer with SPF (I LOVE Physicians Formula “Healthy Wear” tinted moisturizer! It evens out the skin tone and is SPF 50!!)
- Add a touch of blush or a hint of bronzer… if you please…
- Skip the lipstick and pick up a tube of Cherry Chapstick…it has a hint of color, SPF and a yummy flavor!
- Finally, a coat of waterproof mascara…so you can splash in the spring showers or dance in the rain! (L’oreal Paris Double Extend waterproof mascara with lash boosting serum adds length and volume without clumps. One coat is enough and you won’t even need an eyelash curler!)
Voila! You’ll be saying “Ooh la la” to the fresh-faced beauty looking back at you in the mirror!
The Jardin du Luxembourg is truly the “crème de la crème” of gardens in Paris, but this gorgeous beauty requires some major upkeep! I wouldn’t strive to have the polished look of Luxembourg, but just as the grass is cut and the trees are trimmed, we all need a little maintenance now and then! Spring is a great time to get a haircut. It doesn’t need to be a massive change, it could be a simple trim to “freshen up” Just be careful not to add too much maintenance to your routine. If you’re adding highlights, ask your colorist for Balayage or just a few light pieces around your face.
Finally, get outside and enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature! Take your lunch break outdoors, sit in the grass and read a book, listen to the birds, take time to smell the freshly cut grass and the lovely spring air! You deserve a break…so go ahead and escape from the office and take a “petite vacation.”
It’ll leave you refreshed, enhance productivity and won’t drain your wallet!
One final tip from the “City of Lights”…Always save the sparkles for after dark!
Life is simple. Life is Beautiful.