My Passport Stamp: Barcelona, Spain

Everything Sounds Better in Spanish

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Right when you thought MyLS is dead and gone like Lindsay Lohan’s Hollywood comeback, BOOM we’re back at it again hoping to start of 2017 with a bang even though January is already almost coming to an end. Really, where did the time go?

All of us over at MyLS HQ, a.k.a the living room of our parents’ house, have been busy with life – some with final exams, classes etc. and as for myself, work got in the way. Apart from work, I’ve also had a billion weddings to attend and flowers to carry around during receptions, alongside travelling and getting my teeth fixed. Trust me, it’s been a crazy November-January for me.

About a month back, I was given the opportunity to spend wintertime in Spain – a trip I’ve been looking forward to! Spain was my eighth country to visit in 2016, and I’m very grateful to have ended the year there, in the heart of Barcelona where the sun is always bright but the cold winds pierce through your skin.

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I did not, however, spend a lot of Euros on makeup and skincare over there. Probably because the makeup available wasn’t much different than the ones in London, only more expensive. Barcelona was more of a fashion city – they have way too many clothing stores, handbags and perfumes by local Spanish designers. I managed to get a bottle of local designer perfume for my mom, but none for myself… Shopping isn’t very cheap there, mind you. But the whole energy and charm of Catalunya was what made me fall for the city more and more each day during my stay there.

Because it was winter, the temperature did go down to around 4 degrees Celsius at night. That isn’t too cold compared to other European cities but it did have an effect on my already-dry-in-Malaysia skin. Lucky for me, I was semi-prepared for the cold weather.

I brought along a few necessities and packed them in little travel containers, so with me I had a lot of Kiehl’s, Garden of Eden and First Aid Beauty. Before leaving for Spain, I visited a Kiehl’s store to get a travel-sized toner then told the salesgirl on my dry skin condition and how afraid I was to face the winds of winter (GoT reference intended).

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I’ve got my night time skincare routine covered because I use the Garden of Eden skin serum before slapping on my First Aid Beauty Hydra Firm Sleeping Cream, and it keeps my face moisturized all through the night. I thought I’d practice the same routine in the mornings, but I was afraid I’d look like a grease ball, and there is no way on Earth I wanted to let that happen.

Come on, you’re in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and you want to look like an oily nugget? Not on my watch!

Understanding my fears of a) Looking like a chicken cutlet slathered in olive oil and b) Looking like I have greyscale on my face (Wait, what? Another GoT reference?!), the salesgirl introduced me to what most likely saved my face in Spain….Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate.

Tapi sample kecik je lah.

The sample was going to last me for up to 10 days she said, just enough to last me during my whole stay in Barcelona.

Fast forward to my 11-day trip, let me just tell you, this serum (allow me to call it a serum instead of a ‘concentrate’), saved my entire existence. It gave me a “glow” I thought I’d never get in winter, and it did not make me look disgustingly oily.

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It gave me the perfect balance of moisture and plump-ness for my skin, making it very easy for me to apply my makeup. Not once did I worry about scaly skin peeling off from the sides of my nose and mouth, or from the corners of my eyes.

One thing that worried me a wee bit was the scent that it had. My skin is extremely sensitive to scented products, and this one had quite a strong one. Very, very fortunately, my skin did not react to the smell the way it does to most scented products in the market. I took a leap of faith and I used it every single day for 11 days. Nothing bad happened, no rashes, no stinging, nothing. Just pure goodness keeping my skin radiant and dewy.

It worked so well for me that it gave me the confidence to roam around La Ramlas with my makeup intact for 18 hours, visiting every Desigual and Zara Home I see. Not that these two stores are exclusively available only in Spain, but when you see one every two, three blocks away, you can’t help but just pop in every single time you know?

Barcelona was beautiful, it took me a while to finally get over it after the trip was over – I wish I could just live there forever. Learn a little bit of Catalan, go to a local bakery for breakfast every morning and stroll around town every once in a while. The aesthetically pleasing kind of life that you could only get on Youtube. But oh well. All good things must come to an end – except that wasn’t the case for my newly discovered Kiehl’s serum!

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When I came back to Kuala Lumpur, the first thing I did was go to One Utama to get me a full sized bottle. I now use it every time I feel my skin needs a little “boost” on days I feel extra dry. A few pumps of this serum and it re-energizes my skin, giving me an easy canvas to work with during my makeup application. It completely changed my life, and is definitely the best skin companion for dry, cold European winter…and the scorching heat we have right here.

The best part though, is even though it isn’t something I literally got in Barcelona, it reminds me of the city every time I put in on my face. I didn’t “get it” in Barcelona, but I most definitely “got into it” when I was there! I guess you don’t have to purchase something as a souvenir to remember a certain country by. It’s weird, and probably pathetic – how memories of Barcelona are re-embedded into my brain every time this serum touches my skin.

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