remember when i told you about the ALPRONISTA SKY BOX pop-up restaurant a while ago? i also teased you about the private dinner i am hosting on august 7, and now i can finally tell you all about that evening! alpro was kind enough to let me invite ten 'online ladies' - friends i've made over the past few years through this blog or via instagram, and ladies i've admired for a long time. each and every one of them is a creative soul and cool human being, so putting together the guest list already felt like a little party to me.

next thursday evening, we will gather at the M WITH A VIEW restaurant to taste the delicious menu alpro has put together for its sky box pop-up. the snapshots above by previous guests to the pop-up give you a bit of a sneak peek, but if you'd like to see more, just look for the #alpronista hashtag on instagram. added bonus to the whole deal? the gorgeous view on ghent city from the rooftop location of the restaurant!

the best news, however, is that i also get to invite a reader to this fab dinner party. do you and your guest feel like an evening filled with creative chats, some old-fashioned girl power and really good plant-based food? let me know by sending me an e-mail at HELLO (AT) STEPHANIEDUVAL (DOT) COM who you would like to take, and perhaps we will meet on thursday august 7 in ghent. make sure your e-mail hits my inbox before 6 pm on monday august 4!

photos by @karenghentstreetstyle // @ruthvansoom // @bramghentstreetstyle // @lorrie_ve // @sofiedepauw


i used to be way into make-up, at least as much as any other sixteen-year-old girl. but then one day i woke up and i just couldn't be bothered with it anymore. it started seeming like such hard work, and as cliché as it sounds, i much rather spent those twenty minutes each morning in my bed then in front of the mirror. besides, i told myself, i like natural beauty.

while that is still true, i've also realized that going from one end of the spectrum to the other might not have been the ideal strategy. as a student, i really didn't care that i could look tired and a little washed out. hey - i was cooped up inside, studying all day, every day. and during summer, when i got a bit of a tan, make-up just didn't seem necessary at all. those early twenties were amazing, am i right?

sadly, closing in on the next decade of my life, it's getting more difficult to look as fresh and healthy without any help. last year i got my skincare act together thanks to parfuma and la mer, and i was introduced to a simple and effective beauty routine - all in light of my wedding at the end of last summer. i was amazed how a handful of products and a short morning and evening routine could change the way i feel and look to such an extent.

little by little, my fascination with cosmetics and beauty started to return. but this time, i'm taking a different approach. products have to be easy to use and effective - i still think it's a waste to spend too much time in the bathroom each day. secondly, i only like products that highlight natural beauty and maybe give it an extra push. no dramatic false lashes and dark eyeshadows for me, thank you very much.

so when dior reached out to me and asked if i wanted to discover their BACKSTAGE PROS line of beauty products, at first i was a little hesitant. after all, these products were used by make-up artists who turn models into the special kind of creatures that strut the catwalk, and i didn't exactly see how that would apply to me or my life. but then i did some research, and i found out most of these products are actually smart-ass solutions to enhance what is already there. used as a base for dramatic catwalk make-up, they provide the perfect canvas. but used on their own, they might end up being the perfect beauty routine for a fresh and natural daily look.

i just started to experiment with the products, but thought i'd already give you a look at what the line consists of. my current favorites are the ADDICT LIP GLOW, which i actually already used before - it's a simple balm, but it brings out your natural lip color - and the NAIL GLOW, which does the same but for your nails. i can honestly say these two have become fundamentals - products i apply even if i'm stuck behind my computer for days on end, just because they make me feel like me, but in a tiny little bit better version. i'm hoping the rest of the products will have the same effect on me, and i'll be sharing my experience with them throughout this summer.

have you tried any of the BACKSTAGE PROS products? i'm curious to hear what you think of them.


the kick-ass women interview series is meant to inject a tiny little bit of modern day feminism into this blog. i figure when my ideology and the subjects of this blog intersect, it's not just an opportunity to spread positive vibes and support great women in the creative industry, but it also presents an interesting story that might be inspiring to you in other ways, too. 

i first met emma gelaude over the phone, while i was interning at elle magazine and wanted to do a write-up on her newly started business as a personal stylist and shopper. today, that seems like ages ago, and it really makes me happy that emma and i always stayed in touch, keeping track of each other's professional activities, supporting each other whenever possible and whenever we see an opportunity in our hectic schedules, just sitting down for a coffee and a good chat about life.

emma is a born entrepreneur and relentless in pursuing her goals. she still runs what was once the first and only fashion blog in belgium, but developed it into a larger platform for many more voices than her own. emma's business is always expanding, redefining and developing her own particular brand of style-savviness. but above all, i find emma to be a genuinely nice person, who cares deeply about her friends and family and can always be counted on for her honest opinion. i'd never want to keep all that to myself, so i'm happy she wanted to share a few insights, right here on my blog.

w h o   h a s   b e e n   a    m e n t o r   t o   y o u   t h r o u g h o u t   y o u r   l i f e   o r   p r o f e s s i o n a l   c a r e e r ,    a n d    h o w ? 

my mother is my mentor. it’s a family affair of unconditional love, trust and high level consultancy. i’m the eldest of her three daughters and the first one owning her own business. my mother is a respected marketeer and a senior lecturer at the university college in ghent, and she is involved in a lot of research and projects. she has been my mentor even before i started up my business, developing a business plan and a strategy with me. we go very far in thinking about certain topics and creating concepts. it’s necessary to the weigh pro’s and cons of everything i do with someone like my mom, who has tons of experience combined with a sharp and creative mindset and technical expertise. plus it’s fun being together, laughing a lot and drinking coffee while thinking up original approaches.

w h a t   i s   y o u r   b i g g e s t   r e g r e t ?

no regrets. je ne regrette rien. i’ve never done anybody any serious harm, at least not intentionally. not in my personal life and not in business: i go for a mutual match, positive vibes and the correct approach. throughout my life i’ve seized the opportunities that came along my way, i work hard and try to empower my mind every day with new input and inspiration. what i do deeply regret is what happens to the poor, the homeless, the abandoned animals, the innocent who suffer in wars and conflicts and the talented who never have the possibility of getting an education. biggest regrets should be first and formost for politicians, decision makers and sharks that fuck up.

w h a t   i s   t h e   m o s t   i m p o r t a n t   t h i n g   y o u ' v e   l e a r n e d   i n   l i f e   s o   f a r ?

the most important thing is knowing what priorities are. how much of an entrepreneur i may be, how driven in business i am, i know one thing: all of this can be over in a second. we all need money and money buys you freedom and a certain degree of wellbeing but what really counts is love, family, friends. and doing what you really want to do in life as much as possible. realizing yourself in your creativity, not fighting against your inner self: this is the true foundation of happiness. and the true foundation and motivation of the entrepreneur, too, because only in that state of mind you can truly perform, be creative, and genuinely be meaningful to other people.

w h a t   a r e   y o u   t r y i n g   t o   t e a c h   y o u r s e l f   r i g h t   n o w ?

to be less stressed out. i go to the gym, try to meditate and reflect on what i do and why. i try to set my goals and priorities straight. this helps, but not always. some days are very hectic as saying ‘no thanks’ is often not an option in business. so in spite of an efficient organization it can be extremely difficult to constantly perform at the high level i set for myself.
i f   y o u   c o u l d   o n l y   g i v e   o n e   p i e c e   o f   a d v i c e   t o   a n y o n e ,   w h a t   w o u l d   i t   b e ?

go for harmony between your personal and your professional life. and set your priorities right. love comes first.

d o   y o u   h a v e   a n   i c o n   -   s o m e o n e   y o u   l o o k   u p   t o   o r   n e v e r   f a i l s   t o  i n s p i r e   y o u ?

i don’t have any particular icons, unles perhaps in fashion - people like jackie kennedy or carine roitfeld. but there are many people i look up to: people who inspire me, people who have created something, people who leave a mark. visionary business guys like steve jobs, or in belgium like bert van wassenhove with his heaven can wait project. and of course strong and talented women like jackie lee, designer virginie morobe from march 23 or singer trixie whitley.

emma gelaude's COMPANY // and her BLOG
photos taken by stephanie duval at emma's home
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