Tuesday, February 28, 2012

 366 DEEG AM JOER! (Let’s leap ..)

Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November;
February has twenty-eight alone,
All the rest have thirty-one,
Excepting leap year, that's the time
When February's days are twenty-nine

(Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme)

2012 is a Leap Year/Bissextile year (Schaltjoer). A leap year consists of 366 days whereas common years have 365 days.

Earth orbits the sun every 365.2422 days (solar year). Leap years are needed to keep our Gregorian (civil) calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions around the sun. Every four years 1 day is added, February 29, called leap day or intercalary day with one exception: century years are not leap years unless they can be evenly divided by 400.

The Egyptians first began using a calendar with a leap year during the Ptolemaic Dynasty (330-30 BC). Later, the Romans adopted this solution for their (Julian) calendar however the practice was inconsistent. It was not until 1582 when Pope Gregory introduced the Gregorian calendar that intercalary years became official.

Leap day traditions are a mix of folklore, myths and superstitions. Most seem to center around the custom that this was the one day when women were allowed to propose marriage to men without social restrictions. Legend dates this back to 5th Century Ireland when St. Brigid complained to St. Patrick about women having to wait for so long for a man to propose. In 1288 Queen Mary of Scotland (allegedly) passed a law to allow women to propose to men, and if the proposal was rejected, a fine was incurred. By the late 1800s into the early 1900s, Leap Year themed parties, teas and dances and the sending of humorous postcards were amusing ways to celebrate the day.

In Luxembourg we have a somewhat similar tradition with “Bretzel Sonndeg” (Pretzel Sunday) which takes place on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Boyfriends offer their beloved a pretzel (dough pre-cooked in boiling water and knotted in a unique shape) and the girls will return the favor on Easter with a colored or a chocolate egg (more on "Bretzel Sonndeg" later). In a Leap Year, the roles are reversed.

As I mentioned in my previous post, during a Leap Year a Stréihfrächen (straw woman) is burnt in Remich on Ash Wednesday instead of a Stréihmännchen (straw man).

People born on February 29 are called “leaplings” or “leapers”. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Everybody should enjoy this extra day and ladies, look before you leap! 

Monday, February 27, 2012


Buergbrennen 2012 - Picture courtesy www.wort.lu 
As tradition has it, a straw man complete with suit and hat (Stréihmännchen) is burned every Ash Wednesday in Remich, a small city on the Moselle river. This year, a leap year, a straw woman (Stréihfrächen) was paraded around town, set on fire and thrown in the river. This symbolizes the end of Carnival and the burning away of all sins.
Last Sunday, the first Sunday of Lent, torch-lit parades were held and public bonfires were kindled in many parts of Luxembourg where giant crosses and remains of Christmas trees were immolated.

These Lenten fires combine Christian and pagan traditions and go back to rituals which were intended to chase away winter and welcome spring, ensuring the fertility of fields and livestock. 
Both events are fun and entertaining. Food stands offer local fare and drinks

Picture courtesy leeandhermuse.blogspot.com

In the US we have Hoodie-Hoo Day. This little known holiday is celebrated in the Northern Hemisphere on February 20. People go out at noon, some wearing funny and unusual hats, wave their hands over their heads and chant “Hoodie-Hoo". It is a day to chase away winter and usher in spring. According to myth, the Hoodie-Hoo is a spirit who lives in the forest. With some urging on or about Feb. 20, it awakes, emerges from the wilderness and chases winter into seclusion.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

KIERPERLECH! (Some like it fresh ..)

Vintage Friction de Foucaud bottle - www.foucaud.fr
I cannot imagine traveling without FRICTION DE FOUCAUD, an energizing body tonic. Equally appreciated by men or women, this lotion provides us with a sense of freshness and a tingling sensation when applied after the bath or shower. In hot climates and New York summers this product has proven to be a real lifesaver.

The light, clean scent is non-obtrusive and lingers only for a few minutes. Foucaud also recommends this aromatherapeutic body rub for reviving and stimulating your tired legs during and after travel or for soothing achy muscles post-workout. 

The skin refreshing tonic was created in 1946 by Mme Lucienne Merle for French military officers suffering from heat rashes and other tropical skin eruptions. Its unique (and secret) formula, a blend of essential oils of lemon, orange, lavender, thyme, rosemary and natural extracts of camphor and menthol has remained unchanged for 66 years and is still produced by Laboratoire Merle in Paris. Friction is hypoallergenic, contains no harmful paraben, is free of phenoxyethanol and mineral oils and has not been tested on animals.

The body lotion is available in three different sizes: a large 500 ml (16.8 fl. oz.) glass splash bottle which will easily last up to 6 months, a medium 250 ml size (8.4 fl. oz.) and a more travel-friendly 125 ml (4.2 fl. oz.) refillable lightweight plastic atomizer.

Current retail prices: US $35/250 ml glass bottle; $23/125 ml spray
Europe19,30/250 ml glass bottle ; 17,60/125 ml spray (shop around, the para-pharmacies have a large selection and competitive prices)

Foucaud’s complete body care line includes an alcohol free lotion (lait), massage oil, invigorating shower gel, etc. (not evaluated or tested by us, yet).

Please click on the links or pictures for additional information.

Problems finding a product in Luxembourg? Send us an email.

All pictures courtesy of www.foucaud.fr

Sunday, February 19, 2012

SIDD DIR VEKLEET? (Carnival in Luxembourg ..)

Today is “Fues-Sondenn” (Carnival Sunday) in Luxembourg and the festivities are in full swing. Fastnacht/Fasching/Carnival/Carnivale is celebrated in many parts of the world the most famous being Rio de Janeiro, Venice and the spectacular Mardi Gras event in New Orleans.

The very cute Hannah S. from Belvaux "am Jumm" - celebrating Carnival

Customs vary from country to country, some of the best known Carnival traditions include floats, parades, masquerade balls, dancing and singing, boisterous games and the throwing of confetti.  

As with many holidays, Carnival was adapted from pagan festivals. Some link it to the Saturnalian festival of ancient Rome others to 3500 year old Greek spring fertility celebrations. It is safe to say that the original festival was rooted in end-of-winter/beginning-of-spring rituals where grotesque masks, costumes and lots of noise were used to scare away the evil spirits and winter doldrums.

For those of Christian Faith, Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday in England), the final party of indulgence before Ash Wednesday, marks the end of the Carnival Season and the beginning of the privations of Lent. 

Traditional carnival pastries in Luxembourg are abundant and delicious. “Verwurrelten Gedanken” (deep fried knotted pastry) and “Nonnescht” (donut dusted with powdery sugar) are our favorites.

We wish you “Schein Fuesdeeg” (Happy Carnival). Have fun, celebrate, be safe and don’t drink and drive. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

DAT GEFAELLT EIS!! (Things we like – updating part 1 ..)

As you probably know by now INHABIT NY is our favorite knitwear company.  See our original post here.  

Their unique designs flatter any body type and their luxurious materials and finishes lend a textural and rich look even to the plainest of styles (f.ex. the knit cotton tee shirt, a flattering and über comfortable wardrobe staple)

INHABIT just unveiled part of their spring summer line. We are delighted with the sprinkle of color (clover, orange, plum, rye, etc.) and laud the commitment to remain faithful to the “classic-with-a-twist” design. We are particularly happy that we can constantly mix and match our favorite INHABIT sweaters from previous seasons by simply adding new layering pieces.

It is almost impossible to pick a favorite, but so far, the plush Travel Wrap caught our eyes (perfect for long plane rides) as did the Plaited Linen Jacket (a casual jacket with an interesting back detail). For the male customer, the Cotton Cashmere Crewneck in Clover is this season’s must have or go bold with the Tipped Cashmere V-neck in orange

But there is more to come, bookmark the page as Inhabit will update the site with more arrivals. Shop the new season here. Net-a-Porter ships to Europe.

For additional information please click on the links.
Problems ordering an item or having it delivered to Luxembourg? Contact us via email.

All pictures courtesy of www.inhabitny.com

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

HEI RICHT ET GUDD! (Light my fire ..)

We admit, scented candles are our guilty pleasure. We always have candles burning at home and in the office, their rich aroma permeating the air.

Truth is, not all candles are created equal. Our go-to brand is VOTIVO. Founded in 1994, this South Carolina based company uses the highest ingredients for their domestically made products. Natural soy wax blends and lead-free cotton wicks ensure little-to-no soot. In addition, each candle is handcrafted and individually made. 

Votivo candles come in a large variety of scents and sizes. The 6.8 oz/192 gr size jar boasts more than 50 hours of abundantly fragrant burn time.

RED CURRANT (tangy sweet red berry), the choice of Madonna, is the company's undisputed #1 seller, while Oprah, according to "O" magazine, prefers RAIN (clean fresh sage). Our personal favorite is JOIE DE NOEL (spicy, woody, rosemary); originally a Holiday scent but so subtle that it suits us anytime throughout the year.

Looking to spread the love? These candles make amazing hosts/hostesses and housewarming gifts.

Votivo’s vast product range includes aromatic candles, diffusers, travel tins, room sprays, etc. Buy online or try the store locator.

In Europe you can find these luxury fragrance products at Selfridges (see list of retailers) or buy directly from the manufacturer.

6.8oz $26 or €28,00

Click on links or pictures for additional information. Problems finding a product in Luxembourg, please send us an email.

Warning: Never leave a burning candle unattended. Never burn a candle on or near anything that might catch fire. Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets.

Picture courtesy of www.votivo.com

Saturday, February 11, 2012

UKUCKEN! (An Eye for Eye ..)


1890, from Spanish Mascara “stain, mask” same source as Italian Maschera “mask”

Mascara is one of the most ancient cosmetics known, having been used in Egypt possibly as early as 4000 B.C. Egyptians used a substance called kohl to darken their lashes, eyebrows, and eyelids. The Babylonians and ancient Greeks also used black eye cosmetics, as did the later Romans.

In modern times, the man who popularized mascara, cosmetic chemist T. L. Williams, created his 1913 invention, a mixture of coal dust and Vaseline, for his sister Maybel. When the product became a hit, he named his company Maybelline to honor his two inspirations (Maybel and Vaseline). It was 1917 when the company launched Maybelline Cake Mascara that was considered the "the first modern eye cosmetic for everyday use". It was applied to the lashes with a wetted brush.

Formulas have come a long way since. Today, mascara is a makeup bag staple. In a recent poll, two-thirds of respondents, tout it as the one beauty item they absolutely cannot live without.

Mascaras and their wands come in every shape and (bristle) size. The choice is largely a matter of preference.

Picture of ourtesy Lancome.com
Our personal favorite is LANCOME DEFINICILS. Over the years we tried the latest high-tech formulas (call us naturally lash deficient – short sparse lashes, contact lens wearer, sensitive eyes), but this mascara does the trick for us in the best possible way. Other than separating, lengthening and defining each lash, it stayed on perfectly in 45°C in New Delhi, didn’t clump or feather in humid Bangkok and held up just fine in extreme cold weather. No raccoon eyes either unless you go to bed without removing your makeup (never a good idea).

If we were stranded on a deserted island and could wish for one beauty product only, LANCOME DEFINICILS would be it, waterproof, évidemment.

Buy Lancome Definicils High Definition mascara online - Retail price $26/ 28,15 (available in several colors)
Or at Sephora,  Marionnaud, or any other authorized retailer

Problems buying a product in Luxembourg? Send us an email. For additional information, click on the pictures or links.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

ECH SIN FROU MAT DIER! (Love is in the air ..)

Every February 14 we celebrate Valentine’s Day.
According to various sources and opinions, the roots of Valentine’s day go back to ancient times when the Romans celebrated Lupercalia. Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Lupa (the she-wolf of Rome) and Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture. Christians trace it back to Valentine, a popular bishop in Rome who was captured and killed on February 14. As with so many other holidays that have pagan roots, divination came to play an important role in the development of modern Valentine’s Day.
The traditions of Valentine’s Day are many. Cards, gifts, chocolates and flowers are traditionally exchanged.

We have assembled some of our staff's favorite things to celebrate the Day of Love.

Valentine be mine! ❤❤❤


(From left to right)
1. Tag your love Champagne Rosé Impérial - Moët & Chandon
(€48+; $76+)
2. Trinity Bracelet - Cartier (€420; $525)
3. Baby cashmere shawl in Fuchsia - Timeless Pieces (€311; $411)
4. The Love Box Valentines Macarons – Ladurée (arriving in stores February 10) (€19; $25);
5. Valentines classic slipons - TOMS (€48; $54)
6. Evelyn Porte Monnaie (coin purse) - Hermès (€355; $497)
7. Rosa Mundi Rose Candle - Diptyque (€45; $65)
8. Pink/Red roses by Fleurs Grenadine, Esch/Alzette/Luxembourg – Tel. +26 17 59 63 (price upon request)

Click on the links for additional information. Problems finding a product in Luxembourg? Send us an email

Monday, February 6, 2012

JEAN-IUS! (You nailed it ..)

Gudde Moien!

We love nail varnish and nail art. It is an easy and affordable way to quickly spruce up or effortlessly complete your look.

Chanel – Le Vernis nail colors are among our favorites. Their state-of-the-art formula strengthens and moisturizes nails and the rich hues always seem to be a step above the rest. When Chanel unveils a new polish, the fashion world pays attention; Rouge Noir, Black Satin, Riva and Khaki Vert all achieved cult-like status.

Chanel debuted last September in the US in celebration of Vogue’s Fashion Night out, a limited edition trio pack: Les Jeans de Chanel. These denim inspired polishes quickly became the Next Big Thing and sold out faster than macarons at Ladurée.

Peter Philips, Global creative director of Chanel makeup and the brains behind some of the Holy Grail lacquers has created Blue Rebel (the darkest blue of the collection), Blue Boy (medium classic blue) and Coco Blue (the lightest color of the set, a sky blue with a hint of shimmer). 

For the more adventurous, the colors are designed to be worn on different fingers so you get all three shades on one hand. 

At long last, Chanel is launching this highly anticipated nail collection in France on March 6. Reserve your bottle(s) at your local Chanel boutique, buy it online or at Parfumerie Ici Paris XL (Luxembourg).  Price: €22/bottle.

One thing is sure, these Jeans will always fit.

Click on the links or pictures for additional information.

All pictures courtesy of  www.Chanel.com

Friday, February 3, 2012

AM BUEDZEMMER! (Splish, splash)

When it gets this cold outside, we tend to hibernate and stay cozy indoors.

Alas, the wintry cold air and central heating have a drying-out effect on our skin. We recommend a soothing warm (not hot) bath or shower (the shorter, the better since you do not want to strip your skin of natural oils) with a mild, soap-free cleanser.

Our favorite body wash is Kiehl’s Bath and Shower Liquid Body Cleanser (available in a variety of unisex fragrances).

Founded in 1851, Kiehl’s began as a homeopathic pharmacy located in the East Village of New York City.

Kiehl’s has developed a refreshing, gentle yet effective cleanser for the body. It has been formulated with humectants to help skin maintain its moisture. Use it in the shower or bath, the formula will leave your skin clean with a lovely texture and a subtle scent.

Free of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (Skin-irritating ingredient(s) found in many personal care and household cleaning products like toothpaste, shampoo, face and body wash, hand soap, cosmetics and detergents), this liquid is also perfect for sensitive skin.

Kiehl’s offers a great range of products (the Crème du Corps is divine) for everyone in your family (including your pet). In Luxembourg, you can find a selection at “Rue de la Paix” (a SMETS boutique) 50 Grand Rue, Luxembourg-Ville.

Kiehl’s body wash (8.4 fl. oz. – 250 ml) retails in the US for $18 / 17,00  in Europe.  Buy it online or shop at any of their beautifully stocked retail stores.

Problems buying a specific product in Luxembourg? Send us an email. For additional information, click on the pictures or links.

All pictures courtesy of www.kiehls.com 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

GET ONS SPECK AN IERBESSEN! (Give us Bacon and Beans ..)

Liichtmess Dag - Candlemas Day/Festival of Lights/Midwinter Festival/Imbolc/Beginning of spring according to various northern European calendars)

Today we celebrate “Liichtmess Dag” in Luxembourg. Candlemas is the Christianized name for this holiday which is celebrated 40 days after Christmas. Its origins are Pagan.

Candles were traditionally lit on this day and today children go from house to house with colorful lanterns, singing the traditional “Léiwer Herrgottsblieschen” wishing friends and neighbors, Happiness and Good Health, in exchange for a treat (usually candy but nowadays often cash).

Groundhog Day in the US, occurs on the same date. This tradition also finds its origin in European folklore, as a prediction for the coming spring. 

Here is the lovely Hannah S. from Belvaux braving the arctic cold (in politically correct faux-fur) ready for “liichten” (lighting).

Model: Hannah S from Belvaux, Luxembourg - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

ENG HAUT WEI SEID! (Shed your skin ..)

Gudde Moien!

This is by far one of our favorite products and we literally don’t leave home without it: St. Ives Apricot Scrub Blemish & Blackhead Control. It barely needs an introduction since it has been touted for years by magazines (Allure, Esquire (men love it too), InStyle, etc ) and beauty blogs as the best (and least expensive) exfoliator.

Everyone knows that beautiful skin begins with a proper skin care routine and exfoliating is a necessary step to instantly reveal smooth, radiant skin. Over the centuries, the Swiss have developed and perfected their secrets for naturally beautiful skin. There are literally thousands of exfoliators on the market and while in general we are not adverse to spending money on beauty products, this scrub does it all and more for a mere $4.

It has a delicious apricot smell, contains about 2% salicylic acid with 100% natural exfoliants (apricots, corn kernel meal and walnuts) (NOT tested on animals, no Parabens and no Phthalates). Use it twice weekly or adjust according to the sensitivity or dryness of your skin.
Lightly massage a small amount in circular motions into your skin, rinse thoroughly under running water, pat dry and follow up with a moisturizer. It works just as well on other body parts (chest and back). 

For those of you with non-oily skin, St.Ives offers several other products:  the INVIGORATING APRICOT SCRUB (without the salicylic acid), a GENTLE SCRUB for sensitive skin and for the more mature skin the aptly named TIMELESS SKIN SCRUB.

Buy St. Ives products at your local drugstore

In Europe, St. Ives can be found here or here

Click on links or picture for additional information. Problems purchasing a product and/or having it  shipped to Luxembourg? Email us