Day In the Life of Beauty: Valis’ Sweet Escape to Paradise with Escada

By  January 26, 2014


The polar vortex has been wearing on my last nerve, especially after escaping it for a few days last week. If you’ve followed along via my Instagram, you’ll know I headed to my homeland with a select group of beauty editors to celebrate the launch of Escada’s freshest limited edition fragrance, Born in Paradise.

7:30 AM Of course, I was late meeting the driver to take me to the airport – I had to double check I had all the skincare products I needed…as well as my toothbrush. After climbing into the car, I immediately fell asleep again.
11:45 AM I met up with the rest of the of the beauty gang to for the plane ride. We didn’t worry about the Wifi as many of us took (another) nap throughout the flight, and towards the end I caught up on my cartoons. Adventure Time, anyone?
4:05 PM When we finally touched down, we felt swamped with the most wonderful heat – a fantastic change from the polar vortex that had locked down the city after we took off. Our jaws dropped as we took in the views of palm trees and the ocean when we arrived at the Ritz-Carlton – was this really what January feels like? After getting into my room I snapped a pic to share with everyone before jumping into a swimsuit and ran to the ocean where all my cares went out the window.
7:30 PM The beauty editors and the Escada team hopped on a bus to take us to the famous Barrachina restaurant in Old San Juan, the birthplace of the piña colada, where the team dove deep into the inspiration behind the scent, which was the classic cocktail. It’s a blend of green apple, watermelon, and guava wrapped around coconut cream and pineapple with sandalwood and musk to balance the sweetness. For most of the exotic notes, the Escada team used headspace technology that records the molecules of an ingredient to analyze and replicate the ingredient without having to destroy the ingredient to get to the essence. Don’t worry; we did get to sip on the cocktail with dinner where we dinned on empanadas, corn croquettes, and mofongo!


9:30 PM After arriving back at the hotel, I quickly changed into jammies and sat out on the balcony enjoying the warm breeze and the sound of the ocean, and immediately called Mom to fill her in on the day’s adventure. Her advice: Enjoy!
8:30 AM It was odd to wake to answer a slew of emails from the day before; I prefaced most with “Sorry for the early email” in between breakfast and getting ready to meet up with everyone else.
10:30 AM We met up in the lobby to board a tour bus where we headed to one of the island’s oldest military forts, Castillo de San Cristóbal. We were greeted by a pair of iguanas, one who kept an eye on all visitors from its perch in a window and another on the roof of the entrance. The fortress was built in 1783 and used to wrap around the city, but most of the walls were toppled in the ‘20s to make room for more government buildings, including the capital. We explored the barracks, wells, and even the dungeon, which was covered in ancient graffiti.
1:00PM From there, we headed down into the main drag of town where the candy colored buildings blended beautiful graffiti with abundant foliage and a slew of American shops lined the streets next to some of the country’s landmarks including the Catedral de San Juan Bautista and Hotel El Convento. We headed to one of the small restaurants where I had another helping of mofongo, this time with yucca!


2:30PM Once we were full we board the bus to head to the Bacardi Rum Distillery on the outskirts of the city. There we met Joe Gomez, the brand’s Master Blender, who schooled on the origins of the piña colada, and even explained how a great liquor and a great perfume are similar. Both have top, middle, and base notes, and can use similar aging processes to get the right blend. We got to sample some of the brand’s varieties, including Gomez’s baby Bacardi 8, which should be sipped like a good whiskey or scotch.
5:00PM After the early evening cocktail, we headed back to the hotel to primp for dinner, but I ended up on a mission to find a specific coconut candy Mom grew up with that left me loaded down with the sweet stuff.


8:00PM Dressed to impress we all met back downstairs to head to the finest restaurant on the island, Marmalade. It was like stepping into the Big Apple once again with its chic décor and elaborate tasting menu. A few of the editors tested their taste buds with the restaurant’s signature Global Warming cocktail, which consisted o of a three-chili ice ball in a hibiscus & basil infused margarita that became spicier the longer it sat. We sampled almost everything on the menu, including Ceviche, mini Paella, Queen Red Snapper, Caramel Corn Crème Brûlée, as more and more food arrived at our table (dessert included). By midnight we were all full and headed to bed after the last of the Chocolate Tripleta.
9:00AM Oh no, the last morning in paradise! I got up running out of the door to catch a helicopter flight over the Barranquitas Canyon and Forest where waterfall and farmland abounded in so much greenery. We even flew by the Bacardi factory and El Mojo and over the crystal blue waters before we landed back at the hanger. It was mind-blowing to say the least, and made me want to call my family over in Bayamon to see if I could stay for a little longer.
10:00AM Once we were safely back on the ground and back at the hotel I grabbed my bathing suit one more time to splash around the in the ocean – I needed as much sun, surf, and sand as possible to fight against the polar vortex in the Big Apple. I stayed out in the warm water until the last minute to run back to the room to pack up and head out.


12:00PM I joined a few of the editors for a farewell lunch with Escada team who provided the amazing adventure.
2:40PM We hopped in the car for the 10 minute drive to the airport, and then I realized I sill had sand in my hair from my morning swim.
5:50PM We safely landed at JFK where I spent the ride home catching up on emails, realizing I did get a tan in he few days, and finally delivering the coconut candies to Mom, who was happy to rip everything open. Now all I need to remind me of the amazing time is just a spritz away.