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Recommended European Cosmetic Brands

Posted by on Aug 12, 2013 in Health & Beauty, Travel Advice | 3 comments

BourjoisVisitors to Europe may be at a loss when it comes to purchasing cosmetics. This article will give you some advice on which brands to look for. London, Berlin, and Paris have the largest selection of beauty products. Keep in mind that each European country sells different brands. International names like Estee Lauder, Body Shop, Shiseido, and Chanel are found all across Europe, but it’s more fun to explore the brands unique to the country in which you’re staying.

If you’re on a budget, drugstores will be more than adequate for your beauty needs. Lots of European drugstores allow you to sample their products. This is a great feature lacking in US drugstores.

Bourjois is one of Europe’s most famous cosmetic brands. With a focus on the particular glamor of 19th century Paris, this brand can proudly claim to have created the first powder blush. If  you’re looking for a makeup remover, go for Bioderma Crealine H2O. For a great moisturizer, try Embryolisse.

If you’re visiting Europe during the summer, you’re going to need sunscreen. La Roche-Posay Anthelios AC is recommended for oily skin and those suffering from acne. Unlike sunscreens that claim to be “oil free,” this one really is!

In France, look for Monoprix and luxury brands Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. When visiting Sephora stores (you can find these in France, Italy, and Spain), look for eye shadow and blush by Fred Farruggia. Sephora stores also carry Makeup For Ever products and drugstore brands like Maybelline and L’Oreal. Sephora often has sales on their more expensive products during the summer. Another French brand to look for is Lollipops.

If you like perfume and you’re visiting Paris, you’re in for a treat. Visit a boutique called Serge Lutens at the Palais Royale. Inside you can sample a gigantic array of perfumes.

Kiko In Italy and France, look for Kiko stores. Kiko is known for its wide selection of products, great prices, and sales. The Italian store Limoni Perfumeria has a wide selection with great packaging. Look for inexpensive brands Pupa and Collistar.

In London, look for EU-exclusive Illamasqua shades.

In Germany, look for brands Astor and P2. Both brands can be found in common drugstores. Their products are inexpensive and of good quality. P2 makes great lip products. Catrice (a little more expensive) and Essence (a little less expensive) are two more great drugstore brands found in Germany. Catrice has a reputation for wonderful nail polish. You can also find hair treatment tools, serums and creams there, wonderful for post curling or straightening treatment.

Germany is known for its focus on organic makeup and skincare. In Denmark, visit stores Matas and Magasin to find a great selection of products. If you see the name Nilens Jord, check out the mascara and eye shadow. All Nilens Jord products are free of paraben and perfume. The Danish brand GOSH is not recommended.

In the Netherlands, drugstore Kruidvat en Etos is recommended for beauty supplies. They carry aforementioned brands Catrice and Essence. They also carry MNY. Essence can also be purchase in Switzerland’s drugstores.

In the United Kingdom, visit House of Fraser. Look for brands Illamasque, Butter London, Sleek, 17, Models Own, and Barry M. International travelers often say that in regards to makeup, the UK is similar to the US.

In Spain, look for Agatha Ruiz de la Prada perfume and try out some skincare products from Instituto Español de la Piel.

 

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Best Business Schools in Europe

Posted by on Oct 28, 2013 in Work & Education | 1 comment

Many individuals attend college in a foreign country not only to earn a prestigious degree, but also to experience different cultures. A business degree is a valuable tool to have in today’s tough job market.

A business degree will:

  • Teach you skills useful for any career
  • Improve your teamwork, time management, problem-solving, and leadership skills
  • Give you opportunities to travel
  • Prepare you for life
  • Help you structure your personal finances

Whether you want to go for a basic accounting degree or pursue an MBA, earning a business degree is never a bad idea.

imgres-4Earning a degree is a different experience in Europe than in the US. Whereas US applicants are pressured to show uniqueness, European applicants are asked to show why they are interested in a particular subject. Along with standardized test scores, European schools look at leadership skills and motivation. If you mention an extracurricular activity, it better be related to your intended field of study.

European schools are focused on education – there are no mascots, school colors, or football teams. This “no frills” approach to learning enables universities to be cheap (sometimes free!). While American professors are easily approachable and viewed as mentors, European professors lecture in great halls while standing on a raised platform. Which school you attend should depend on your personal goals.

Here are the top three business schools in Europe:

#3: Saïd Business School (Oxford, UK)

Here’s a fun fact: just three months after they graduate, the average alumni is earning six figures (maybe these are people staying in Europe’s luxury golf resorts later in life)! Oxford’s prestigious business school is known for producing programmers. The school is divided into three sections: Business, Finance, and Management. Graduate students can earn their MBA in one year at SBS. In 2006, SBS launched a series of programs in which students can earn one of three diplomas in just 18 months. In 2013, SBS’s MBA program was ranked 24th in the world, 3rd in the UK, 6th in “The Best International MBA Programs” (Forbes), and 5th in “International Business Schools” (Business Week).

#2: London Business School (London, UK)

London Business School LBS is the UK’s top business school. It is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 business schools in the world. A competitive school, LBS offers many different business degrees including MBAs and PhDs. Sloan Masters in Leadership and Strategy is perhaps the school’s most famous degree. It is a master’s program developed for senior executives and professionals. Most Sloan Fellows have 15 years of experience under their belts before they start the program. The degree is full time and takes one year to complete. LBS also has a campus located in Dubai.

#1: INSEAD (Paris, France)

It’s not easy to get into INSEAD. Students must score 702 or higher on the GMAT (one point higher than the score required to get into LBS). This global graduate school is famous for its MBA program. It also offers a Master of Finance, a PhD in Management, and many other executive programs. Because INSEAD has campuses in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia, students have the unique opportunity to study in three different continents. Alumni have endless opportunities because INSEAD shares career services with Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Kellogg School of Management in the US.

 

 

 

 

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Luxury Golf Resorts in Europe

Posted by on Oct 11, 2013 in Golf, Luxury | 1 comment

The Game of Golf The Scots are credited with the invention of modern golf, but the origins of the game are widely debated. Most believe that the game was first played in Europe during the Middle Ages. Evidence unearthed in 2005 suggests that Mongolian travelers may have been the ones who brought the game (called “chuíwán”) to Europe. Either way, golf has been around for a long time.

Golf was banned several times throughout the 1400’s, but finally spread from Europe to the United States in the 18th century. It was firmly established in Europe by the end of the 19th century. In 1880 there were only 12 courses in England; by 1914 that number had risen to 1,000. Golf became incredibly popular in the US during the 1920’s. When an American won the British Open Championship in 1992, the US claimed dominance over the sport – a status they still hold today.

The history of golf is preserved worldwide in these famous museums:

  • British Golf Museum (Fife, Scotland)
  • US Golf Association Museum (New Jersey, US)
  • World Golf Hall of Fame (Florida, US)
  • Canadian Golf Hall of Fame (Ontario, Canada)

Today, Europe has become a destination for wealthy golfers. The rolling hills and mild climate are perfect for the sport. Luxury golf resorts aren’t just about golf; they focus on attitude, prestige, exclusivity, and landscape. Most important, they place guests in the very lap of luxury. Here are two of Europe’s best luxury golf resorts:

Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily

VerduraOn Sicily’s south coast you’ll find a resort boasting discreet exclusivity (there are only 203 rooms). The grounds contain a private beach and every room has a view of the ocean with a private terrace. The resort’s two golf courses were designed by Kyle Phillips, a leading golf architect. When playing The East Course, golfers will travel along a meandering route that brings them to the sea twice. The 18th hole is located alongside the cliffs and the end of the course brings you to an elevated, tumbling landscape. The West Course is less diverse but touches the Mediterranean in the middle and is capped with a magnificent seaside finale. Both The East Course and The West Course make ingenious use of the natural terrain and make for a fulfilling experience.

Vidago Palace, Portugal

A long ago destination for those seeking Vidago’s legendary mineral waters, Vidago Palace is a resort fit for kings. With Belle Epoque charm, the resort combines the grandeur of a palace with the coziness of a cottage. There are only 70 rooms in the palace. The resort is nestled in the mountains and surrounded by woodlands. The lush atmosphere, mineral water, and tranquil setting make for a magical, restorative vacation.

Vidago Palace’s championship golf course was built in 1936 (a Mackenzie Ross original). Redesigned by Cameron and Powell according to USGA specifications, the course will remind you of the sport’s inherent beauty and is an exhilarating challenge even for experienced golfers. Great contrasts in landscape evoke a respect for the palace’s natural surroundings. The course is located in Centennial Park, presenting players with magnificent views of rolling hills and small villages. The middle of the course dips into the historic Oura Valley. The course also includes a driving range, chipping area, two putting greens, and a golf school.

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Renting a Car in Europe

Posted by on Oct 5, 2013 in Travel Advice, Travel Finance | 0 comments

Mini CooperTransportation is a big concern when planning a trip to Europe. Renting a vehicle is more complicated and expensive than in the US. You’ll get the best deal if you rent by the week and select a package with unlimited mileage. Just like plane tickets, the earlier you book, the better. You can reserve a rental car online or with the help of a travel agent. Shop around and make sure to ask any and all questions you might have. Make sure to read the fine print before you agree to anything. Rental companies are notorious for tacking on extra fees.

You should definitely rent a car if you:

  • Have lots of luggage
  • Are traveling with a group of three or more
  • Will be camping
  • Plan to explore one area in depth rather than travel across Europe
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Flying Budget Airlines in Europe

Posted by on Sep 26, 2013 in Travel Advice, Travel Finance | 0 comments

airberlinOnce they arrive, most visitors to Europe don’t consider flying an option. Until recently, rental vehicles and public transportation have been the most cost-effective ways to travel Europe. Things are different now. There are four reasons the cost of airfare has decreased dramatically in recent years:

 

  • Deregulation of European airlines in the 1990’s
  • The Open-Skies Treaty of 1992
  • Competition between airlines
  • Proliferation of small, niche airlines

There are currently 62 budget airlines in Europe. SkyScanner and Kayak are two great places to start looking for flights. Purchasing tickets far in advance will enable you to find the cheapest flights. Look for airlines that use either your starting or ending point as a hub. If you have multiple flights, be prepared for delays and leave yourself with plenty of extra time. Be flexible. Try to fly on weekdays during the spring or autumn. Avoid flying during the holidays. Check for sales and look for flights that depart early in the morning or very late at night. If you can’t find the exact flight you want, check flights to nearby airports. Departure times can change suddenly by up to 10 hours. Double check your itinerary a few days before your trip and check in online to avoid fees.

Does a $100 (or less) plane ticket sound too good to be true? There are many downsides to low-cost airlines. You can’t use travel agents, tickets are available only online and are not refundable, and schedules are tight. Flights that aren’t filled up are sometimes cancelled on short notice. If you’re late, the plane will not wait for you. Almost all budget flights are point-to-point and do not offer connecting flights. There’s always the chance that a small airline will suddenly go out of business. Budget airlines are safe, but provide only basic transport (don’t expect snacks). Since the airlines don’t make much money on ticket sales, they will use every excuse to fine you. Make sure to read the fine print and look up all information about luggage.

RyanairWith 41 hubs, Ryanair is Europe’s largest budget airline. If you book early, you can find flights from London to a variety of European cities for only $20. Ryanair is notorious for “add-on fees.” The only way to avoid paying a credit card fee is to use a prepaid MasterCard credit card. The average one-way ticket from Ryanair is between $55 and $65 (this price includes tax and fees). Ryanair has very strict baggage regulations. It is recommended that you purchase insurance that protects against flight cancellation because Ryanair has a very limited compensation policy in regards to cancelled flights. Make sure you know where your end point is because Ryanair often flies to small, obscure airports far from the city you’re trying to reach.

A little more expensive is easyJet, Europe’s second largest budget airline. When flying with easyJet, you will not be charged a fee for printing your boarding pass in the airport. However, like Ryanair, there is a fee for every piece of checked luggage. But unlike Ryanair, easyJet tends to use principal airports. There are no seat assignments and a one-way ticket ranges from $27-$570.

The third largest budget airline in Europe is airberlin. It has a huge network and offers long flights in addition to within-Europe flights. One-way tickets start at $60. This price includes luggage, fees, and tax. Unlike most of Europe’s budget airlines, airberlin offers free drinks, newspapers, and snacks onboard. They also allow up to 44 pounds of free checked luggage per passenger.

 

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