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My Curly Hair Saviors: Guest Blogger

Have you ever wondered what you would eat for your last meal? Melanie Dunea has. When she’s not interviewing people for her blog My Last Supper, she spends her time as a freelance portrait photographer and casual instagramer. And this week, Melanie is sharing her favorite beauty, food, and photography tips on the Birchbox blog. 

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At first meeting, you probably won’t register my face, but you will absolutely take note of my hair. It’s a riotous bushel of brown coils: shoulder-length, impressive in diameter, and very, very curly—always a bit of an anomaly in this blow-dried world. And, while I have an admittedly strong personality, my hair is an outright rebel. It’s got an identity and swagger all its own—which means that for years, I never knew whether I was going to wake up to a frizz bomb or a dull, flat nest. 

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How to Bake Gourgères: Guest Blogger

Have you ever wondered what you would eat for your last meal? Melanie Dunea has. When she’s not interviewing people for her blog My Last Supper, she spends her time as a freelance portrait photographer and casual instagramer. And this week, Melanie is sharing her favorite beauty, food, and photography tips on the Birchbox blog. 

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J’aime Paris. No, really. I love, love, love Paris. My first impressions of the city came from Ludwig Bemelmans’ Madeline books. I was enamored of that cheeky little girl, scared of Ms. Clavel, the teacher, and had a mad crush on Pepito, the Spanish Ambassador’s son who lived next door. But, mostly, I lingered over the drawings of Paris and dreamed of sitting in a café eating, drinking, and just being Parisian.

Fast forward to the late 1970’s. I found myself in a restaurant in Paris sitting in an overstuffed chair, perusing an oversize menu and feeling très Madeline-esque when the waiter came over and served us a plate of Gougères. I was surprised, as we hadn’t ordered anything yet. I looked at my parents who encouraged me to try the cheesy puffs and explained that they were compliments of the house. Free food? Paris was getting better by the minute. I popped one in my mouth and savored the warm gem as its flavor exploded on my tastebuds. I have never forgotten my first Gougères.

Many years and many Gougères later, I began baking my own. I’m always ready to slap on my apron to make a triple batch. I love to have them on hand for when visitors drop in unexpectedly. I have experimented with many recipes over the years and I think this one is the best. Pop open a bottle of cold champagne, cue up some Serge Gainsbourg, close your eyes. The taste of a warm Gougères will transport you.

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My Morning Cup of Tea: Guest Blogger

Have you ever wondered what you would eat for your last meal? Melanie Dunea has. When she’s not interviewing people for her blog My Last Supper, she spends her time as a freelance portrait photographer and casual instagramer. And this week, Melanie is sharing her favorite beauty, food, and photography tips on the Birchbox blog. 

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The first thing I do each morning is brew myself a piping hot cup of tea. It doesn’t matter where in the world I am: A day that starts without tea is doomed.

I don’t use any old tea because I prefer Tetley’s, which comes in a nice round pod and is available at any local grocery story in England. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with U.S. manufactured Twinings or Harneys. But, to me, English tea just tastes better and stronger. I’m not a purist by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t bless my pot with a drop of hot water, and I use quite a lot of milk, which many deem a sin. Once in a while, I’ll go to the fuss of tealeaves, but usually only when I have a discerning or highfalutin visitor.

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Instagram Tips and Tricks: Guest Blogger

Have you ever wondered what you would eat for your last meal? Melanie Dunea has. When she’s not interviewing people for her site My Last Supper, she spends her time as a freelance portrait photographer and casual instagramer. And this week, Melanie is sharing her favorite beauty, food, and photography tips on the Birchbox blog. 

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I’m a professional photographer and I love Instagram. Thanks to the ingenious app, I can check out what’s cooking in April Bloomfield’s kitchen or see how my pal’s holiday is shaping up. Sure, I have fancy cameras for work and a little point and shoot for recreational purposes, but most of my day-to-day snaps are taken with my iPhone and uploaded straight to the site. When budding photographers want to talk cameras and equipment, I always tell them the tools don’t make the photo. Naturally, there are benefits of better, longer lenses and good camera bodies, but none of that will help you catch what Henri Cartier Bresson called the “decisive moment.” A moment is a moment, you either see it and it moves you to click, or you don’t.

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The Face Mask That Saved My Skin: Guest Blogger

Have you ever wondered what you would eat for your last meal? Melanie Dunea has. When she’s not interviewing people for her site My Last Supper, she spends her time as a freelance portrait photographer and casual instagramer. And this week, Melanie is sharing her favorite beauty, food, and photography tips on the Birchbox blog. 

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I used to dodge kisses from my Grandmother Oma at bedtime, not because I didn’t love her, but because her face was always greasy. Sitting in front of a vanity mirror, dressed in a lovely robe, she would slather layer upon layer of cream while going on about the myriad benefits of moisturizing. “Trust me,” she would say. “When you are old, you won’t regret having taken care of your skin.”

I took her words to heart and by the time I was a teenager in the ’80s, I was blowing over half my paycheck ($4.35/hour working in the school cafeteria) on—you guessed it!—moisturizer. Lotions, creams, serums, fluids, balms, salves, emulsions and unguents. You name it, I was daubing onto my face, lids, neck, shoulders, knees, and toes.

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