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


actually this post should have been called 'a few hours in nîmes' because we didn't actually spend a full day there. while we were spending the weekend in boulbon, we ventured out to nîmes on saturday morning for a little dose of culture. i was curious to experience the city after which denim was named, but i was more than a little disappointed when i noticed nîmes does not, in fact, have a museum devoted to the history of the fabric.

there were other sights to be seen, though. my favorite place had MAISON CARREE on one side, and CARRE D'ART on the other. the former one of the best conserved roman temples in the world, the latter a museum dedicated to modern art. the juxtaposition of ancient and modern architecture and art kinda blew my mind a little bit.

there's more to discover in nîmes - some nice fountains, the beautiful arena and cute little streets filled with boutiques. while overall i can't say i fell in love with the relatively small town, i did enjoy wandering through it for a bit. we ended up having lunch at RESTAURANT LE CARRE D'ART right around the corner of the museum, in the coziest little patio i ever did see. the food left us a little underwhelmed and they have a decidedly bizarre interpretation of a club sandwich (don't you hate when people manage to botch up a classic?) so maybe stick to drinks outside in the sun when you decide to go there.

photos by stephanie duval


last weekend we escaped the grey weather in geneva by hopping on a train to avignon. in around three hours, we arrived at a state of the art train station and were whisked away by my lovely parents-in-law to the beautiful HÔTEL DE LA BASTIDE DE BOULBON about fifteen minutes from avignon. it is run by a belgian couple, and their classy style is evident in the smallest details, inside and outside. we fell in love with the gorgeous garden, terrace, swimming pool and facade of the building, and spent some lovely moments lounging in the sun, a bottle of viognier near.

last weekend was the first little bite of summer i have had all year, so i made sure to pack plenty of spf. last year i was introduced to the wonderful spf 30 uv protecting fluid by LA MER, which i used all summer long up to my wedding (and on the big day itself underneath my make-up!) this year, la mer introduced an ever safer update version of the product in SPF 50. the texture is a little heavier, which is understandable, given the protection it gives to your skin. it is also white, contrary to the light green shade the spf 30 version had.

the best part about this product is that the bottle is small enough to fit into any kind of purse or beach bag, so i have it with me always. it's not supposed to hydrate as it is purely spf, and because of that i find that it makes my skin a lot less oily than most other sunscreens. i much prefer this manner of protecting my skin against the sun, combining the spf with my own face lotion or cream of choice.

as for the upgrade to spf 50 from 30, i really don't mind it, as the skin on my face is prone to pigmentation and not in the cute, freckly kind of way. tanning is becoming less and less important to me, as i grow weary of the devastatingly damaging effects the sun has on skin. i do believe, however, that with the right use of the right products, you can still get a healthy glow in a safe and responsible way. and if it makes me smell as good as a la mer product, well that's just an added bonus.

photos by stephanie duval // taken at the HÔTEL DE LA BASTIDE DE BOULBON in boulbon // this blog post is a collaboration with LA MER, but of course all opinions are my own // shop for la mer online or in antwerp at PARFUMA or in brussels at SENTEURS D'AILLEURS
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