Shireen Fashion Blog
Posted by Shireen Sandoval 11/05/12, 4:52pm
Snaking down the Billabong River at the Top End of the Australian Outback near Kakadu National Park, just outside of Darwin, in a *tiny tin* motorized boat with an Aboriginal guide was one of the best experiences of my life.
Gigantic green lush trees lurched toward the water, floating sundrenched lily pads illuminated the horizon, bubbles rose up occasionally as crocodiles sauntered secretly by and the brightest of blue Forest Kingfishers called out, stirring the deepest of emotions in me.
I'd never seen anything like it. It was an assault on the senses; awe-inspiring. I knew words would never be able to do it justice but damned if I wasn't going to try. As we journeyed further, my pale skin turned a shade darker, sweat dripped from my brow and as cheesy as it sounds, in that moment I felt the grandeur of life. I knew Mother Nature was giving me a gift, one I unwrapped with my eyes.
Mind you, when first told I was going on a cruise in Australia (on assignment for Deco Drive,) I thought: "Okay, a cruise, hmmm. What will I wear? Will there be cocktails? What purse will go with my safari look?" I laugh now, as I remember walking up to the boat, thinking it was a yacht, instead I was horrified to find something more like a dinghy. By the way there was NO place to put my purse, NO bartender in sight and it didn't matter what I was wearing because I was sweating like a pig in heat. That's when a fashionista has to let go and let life style itself.
Days later, in a white Land Rover, my crew and I barreled toward civilization with the back country in our rear view mirror. I dozed off with red clay rolling by and Wallabies jumping about. I woke suddenly when I realized I hadn't had a chance to shop (gasp) except at a street fair on Mindil Beach while covering the annual Beer Can Regatta. At that point, it really didn't matter, because I was already at the Darwin airport drinking an Imperial Stout looking at the cork hats in a sad little gift shop (yes, I bought one, my photographer insisted).
Thank God for the Sydney Airport. We connected there before flying to Los Angeles. My TV crew and I split up like spies on a secret mission (to find sovenirs that didn't look like they were "actual sovenirs" from the "actual airport"). What started as a frantic shopping fiasco turned into a pleasant walkabout! I found lovely shops with indigenous art, jewelry, UGGS and beautiful crocodile skinned leather goods. The best part? No tour guide was needed for this terminal.
In a sweet little soap and perfume shop (where I stopped to squirt away the smell of my dirty, I've been in the Outback for days, hair) I discovered an ultra feminine pink & green tin. When i opened it, the loveliest of smells perfumed the air. It seemed all the things I adored about the land down under folded up perfectly into this tiny treasure. I looked at the label, it read Urban Rituelle.
It's a company based in Sydney, Australia that makes its own bath and body products. I was drawn specifically to the Ginger Apple hand cream, petit parfum and lip balm. Needless-to-say, after flying around the world, racing a camel, riding boats made of beer cans, roughing it in the wilderness and keeping a few crocodiles company, some self pampering was a few hours overdue.
Eventually my sun-kissed skin faded back to pale and my Rituelle ran-out. No worries, whether on a tiny tin boat or in a tiny tin can, it's always a good day, mate, at http://www.urbanrituelle.com/