Mountain life requires daily sun protection

On May 30thI turned 30. I celebrated with my friends and family in Nax, a village at an altitude of 1,300 meters in the Swiss mountains, where I am moving to next month. These past four days we discovered the area all together and it was amazing.

We hiked many trails around Nax. No need to take the car, you just come out the front door and start walking. We tasted delicious wines in the middle of vineyards at Simon Maye et Fils and Magliocco. We hiked our fist Via Ferrata, a protected climbing route. We swam in crystal blue mountain lakes and brunched outside in the yard of the house we had rented for the occasion.

The common theme linking this weekend’s activities was the sun. The region of Switzerland I am moving to, called the Valais, is known for many things, one of them being its micro climate. The sun shines more than 300 days a year.

I realized this weekend that if I want my skin to look as good at 40 than it does at 30, I’m going to have to change my skin care routine. I will no longer be able to use sunscreen only on vacation (as Ada describes it in her latest blog post) because I will be exposed to a burning sun on a daily basis. I need to integrate sun protection into my daily routine. Not only once a day, but every time I go outside or even get into my car (I just realized my car does not have UV protecting glass), and not only on my face, but neckline and hands as well.

I do not want to wake up in ten years and realize my skin is full of wrinkles, spots and redness I could have prevented by better skincare. Hence, the Alchimie Forever Protective day cream SPF 23 is definitely getting placed on my bathroom shelf and in my bag so I can reapply regularly throughout the day.

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The beauty of art

We choose to express our personality in many different ways. Some people use jewelry and other accessories to express their style (read Ada’s latest post “Jewelry Styles for Music Festivals”), some use clothes, others use words or music, I use art. Each painting, sculpture, photograph, video I own tells a story about me in a way I’m incapable of sharing otherwise. If you want to know who I am, all you need to do is to look at what is hung on my walls. For me, this is the beauty of art.

Here are some pieces of my collection and what they say about me.

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In Michaela Spiegel’s painting I see darkness, sensuality and sexuality.

91258a_38f6a33072e74993a076635618077fa4In Dana Hoey‘s photograph I see energy, youth and freshness.

img_5892.jpgIn Mounir Fatmi’s drawing I see religion and life and death in an operating room.

img_5909.jpgIn Rita Natarova’s paintings I see my obsession for the human body, I feel I can touch and smell it piece by piece.

BIGGS_BD_01.jpgIn Janet Biggs’ photograph I feel the power I used to feel while horseback riding.

img_5864.jpgIn Andrea Mastrovito’s painting I see my fear of being ordinary.

DSC_8796.JPGIn Abdul Rahman Katanani’s tree I see hope and defiance.

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In Eli Stertz’s picture I see loneliness.

corrected+POLLA+FIRE+POEM+7.jpgIn Robert Montgomery’s fire poems I see the freedom in love and the fear of being captured.

cache_33063970In Ornela Vorpsi’s drawings I can feel myself in my husband’s arms and I see my need of physical contact.

img_5903.jpgIn Mat Collishaw’s superpositions I feel the beauty that can be found in violence.

img_5877.jpgIn Conrad Bakker’s painting I feel my anxiety to be lost in our society.

img_5865.jpgIn Elke Krystufek‘s photograph I see positivity and enthusiasm.

La beauté des préliminaires, la force de la poésie.

Je ne sais pas vous, mais moi j’adore les préliminaires. « Le commencement : on est à l’origine de quelque chose. L’attente : le principal est encore à venir. La préparation : en vue de ce qui est à accomplir. La fondation : sur laquelle la suite va s’édifier. Le jeu : on passera ensuite aux choses sérieuses. L’exploration : le temps des décisions viendra après. L’ébauche : de ce qui prendra une forme définitive. »

Voici les mots décrivant l’exposition Préliminaires montrée à la Villa Dutoit en mars dernier. Je suis tombée sous le charme d’une pièce en particulier, réunissant le travail de 2 artistes : Patricia Terrapon Leguizamon et Barbara Polla. L’une créant des sculptures de seins, l’autre un poème érotique qui retranscrit parfaitement selon moi la beauté des préliminaires (Just before Love, à lire ci-dessous et à retrouver dans le New River Press Yearbook 2019).

Les préliminaires poussent à l’imagination et à la curiosité. Il y a d’infinies possibilités de désirs et de jeux, de manières de découvrir son intimité et d’explorer son corps ainsi que celui de l’autre.

Les préliminaires sont romantiques. Ils obligent à prendre le temps. Ils font sortir des stéréotypes répétitifs et ennuyants qu’on retrouve partout en image dans notre société.

Les préliminaires offrent un moment de liberté. Un temps où on ose exprimer sa sexualité et tester différents désirs sans trop les avouer juste pour voir la réaction de l’autre, juste pour savoir si on peut continuer dans cette direction ou non. Si c’est non, on oublie et on passe à autre chose, sans jugement.

Les préliminaires c’est différent pour chacun et à chaque instant. Ils peuvent être doux, crus, lents, rapides… D’ailleurs dans de prochains blogs je vous parlerai de deux accessoires que j’aime tout particulièrement : la photographie et les sous-vêtements.

Just before Love me donne envie d’écrire des lettres enflammées à mon mari, comme James Joyce le faisait pour Nora Barnacle. La poésie a une force particulière avec laquelle elle arrive à nous faire voyager et à nous stimuler avec ses mots, ses sons et son rythme, d’une manière qu’on peine à recréer dans notre langage de tous les jours.

Bonne lecture !

 

Just Before Love

Just before love
He likes to smoke a joint
Then he looks at me
And wants me to play
With my eyes and my smile
As if I were to go
Far away with another
As if I were to dance

Just before love
He likes to watch girls
While touching his balls
And then he looks at me
At my mouth at my lips
Ajar and wet and pink
Playing with my tongue
And my fingers in my mouth

Just before love
He likes me to sniff
From neck to ass
Along his vertebrae
His axilla and to kiss
And to sniff him all over
As if I were an addict
And needs to feel the need

Just before love
His nipples erect
His hair on his thighs
He likes me to ignore
Just for a while then adore
That he is all erect
Erection everywhere
Now show me your tits

Just before love
He touches himself
And likes me to Watch
And let me know
I can do it myself
You know look at me
You from below
From everlasting snow

Just before love
Lick it all up
You know, there
Deep in the rainforest
And your tongue everywhere
Let me let me let me
Grasp and strangle
And drown in your night

Just before love
Close your eyes close the world
Comes the night comes the sky
Come, come baby come
Then leave me alone
Alone with myself
Unwillingly and slow
Waiting for death

And after love
Let me let me let me

… and dance again

 

Barbara Polla

I tested sauna and winter swimming.

Recently my sister Cyrille made me rediscover a magical place in Geneva called “Les Bains des Paquis”, which offers a multitude of activities, including sauna and winter swimming.

Each time I go back to Geneva (I now live in Lausanne), I include this new ritual in my visit: three 20 minutes sessions of sauna (90°C/200°F) broken up by swimming in the lake (7°C/45°F). I then take a hot shower and head to the relaxation room where I lather my body with Alchimie Forever products, curl up in a blanket, drink water and read.

Here is wat I love the most about this Nordic tradition.

It is invigorating. Every time, I come out much more energized than I came in and my body and my skin also feel and look healthier. Wim Hof, nick named the Iceman for his ability to maintain a constant body temperature in extreme cold conditions, has generated a lot of interest over the past years on the health benefits of the cold. Many interviews and scientific papers discuss effects on body fat, immunity, depression, muscles, inflammation and sleep.

It helps me with my body image. You can wear a swimsuit, but most people are naked. No one is there to judge. People are only interested in the physical and spiritual experience of the sauna and winter swimming. Being naked with others without feeling any judgment helps me love my body as it is.

It is beautiful. The sauna is on the lake, which makes you feel like you are in the middle of nature even though you are in the middle of the city. From the sauna’s windows, you have a beautiful view on Geneva and the lake regardless of weather or time of day.  The saunas are extremely clean (each part of your body needs to be resting on your towel) and it always smells good thanks to the eucalyptus water regularly pored over the hot stones (no sweaty smell).

I truly recommend this experience to everyone, even those of you who do not like the cold, you’ll be surprised, I promise.

 

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I tested laser hair removal

Laser hair removal is one of the first treatments I tried at Forever Institut. I started feeling self-conscious about my body hair around the age of 12. By then I had already set my mind on shaving, since I had had a traumatic experience with waxing. When I was 8 years old, my older sister Cyrille thought it would be fun to wax my legs as one of her “experiments”. It might have been fun for her, but definitely not for me. Thus when the time came to take matters into my own hands, I bought a razor.

Personally, I find shaving to be tedious and repetitive, it is a “to-do” that neither enriches my day nor teaches me anything. It feels like a waste of precious time. That’s one of the reasons I love laser hair removal; once it’s done, it’s that much time I get back for things I actually enjoy. Trust me, these few minutes per day in the shower add up…

My legs, underarms, and bikini have been hairfree and soft for 15 years now. I’m always ready for a last-minute pool party, always feeling my  best. My skin looks much more beautiful because it never shows that shaving “stubble”.

I’ve converted many of my friends to laser hair removal since. Here are the tips I have shared with them:

  • Winter is the perfect season for laser treatments because most of us have lost our summer tan. We have been hiding our arms and legs in sweaters and pants, and our skin has had time to come back to its natural color. This is essential in order to avoid side effects from this laser treatment.
  • Tanned skin is not to be confused with dark skin. If your skin is naturally dark, you can use the Nd:Yag laser for hair removal.
  • Don’t hesitate to use anesthetic cream (Emla), it really makes a difference. I don’t prescribe to the “no pain no gain” philosophy!
  • It takes about 7 to 9 sessions (one session every 6 weeks) for a definitive result but each treatment provides soft and hairfree skin.
  • After a laser treatment, your skin can be a little irritated. Nothing works better than the Alchimie Afterlase body milk to help to soothe that inflammation and restore comfort and softness.

 

Photo: Guillaume Varone

The beauty of the South

I love thanksgiving so much that I’ve been perpetuating this American tradition in Switzerland for several years now. Tonight, after having cooked for 25 people, I sit back thinking of all that I am grateful for. One particular thing comes to mind. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to discover the south of the United States. I’ve only been fortunate enough to travel to Louisiana and Georgia, but I plan on doing a full southern road trip one day.

I love:

  • The hospitality – Southerners always make you feel welcome and no one knows how to host a better party.
  • The “Colgate” smiles – I’ve never found people with whiter teeth or bigger smiles. Not to mention the perfect lipstick.
  • Selfcare – Southerners know how to take care of themselves and always look perfect. As my sisters and I say, “Looking good, means feeling good, means doing good”.
  • The water – It seems to be omnipresent. There’s always a lake, a river or an ocean to bring serenity.
  • The music – Whether it’s jazz or country I love it.
  • The food – The best food of the country is in the south.
  • Life’s pleasures – People take full advantage of them. In French we would say “bon vivant”, meaning someone who knows how to really enjoy life.
  • The rhythm of life – Not too fast.
  • Spanish moss dangling from trees – Pure magic.
  • Sweet tea – The best drink in a hot summer afternoon.
  • Porches – The best place to dream on a rocking chair and to drink sweet tea.
  • The weather – Hot and humid, just how I love it, and my skin does too.
  • Traditions – I have recently realized that I’m a tradition kind of gal.
  • The importance of family – nothing is more important to me.
  • The accent – My favorite.

On this note, happy Sunday y’all.

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Déjà 1 an!

Il y a quelques semaines mes sœurs et moi écrivions un blog sur les 1 an de Forever Boutique. Le 6 octobre 2017 restera à jamais gravé dans ma mémoire car en plus de marquer la naissance de notre projet entrepreneurial, c’est aussi le jour où j’ai reçu les résultats de mes examens finaux de médecine. Cela fait maintenant plus d’un an que je suis médecin et je m’apprête à finir ma 1èreannée d’assistanat.

Dans le cadre de ma formation en chirurgie vasculaire, je suis obligée de quitter le CHUV et de faire un an dans un hôpital en périphérie. Je suis sûre que cette nouvelle aventure sera formidable, il n’empêche que j’en ai les larmes aux yeux et la boule au ventre. J’ai adoré ma première année d’assistanat en Chirurgie Vasculaire au CHUV.

L’équipe ! Je pars avec plusieurs nouvelles amies : instrumentistes, infirmières, collègues et chefs qui sont toutes plus fortes et incroyables les unes que les autres. Moi qui pensais que ça allait être difficile de me faire des nouvelles amies, j’avais tort.

Les patients ! Beaucoup de patients resteront avec moi pour toujours. Beaucoup de situations terribles mais heureusement entrecoupées d’autres plus réjouissantes. Je me souviendrai toujours de mon 1erdécès sur la table d’opération qui était ma 1èreconfrontation à une mort violente. Un apprentissage malheureusement nécessaire pour apprendre à gérer les urgences.

Moi ! J’ai énormément appris sur moi durant cette année. Par exemple, je suis perfectionniste et je procrastine. Cette combinaison me dessert car entre faire quelque chose d’imparfait ou ne pas le faire, j’opte pour ne pas le faire et cela me met dans des situations délicates. Je dois absolument travailler sur ça l’année prochaine.

Guillaume ! Je n’aurais jamais survécu à cette année sans mon mari. Le bonheur de rentrer chez moi le soir, de lui raconter toute ma journée et de sentir son soutien. Il ne me dit pas simplement que ce n’est pas grave que je rentre tard du travail mais il me dit que c’est fantastique que je m’épanouisse tellement et qu’il faut absolument que je continue comme ça.

Je me réjouis de vous raconter prochainement le début de mes nouvelles aventures.

 

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