Sunday, June 19, 2016

Packing for A Week in New York


I'm packing for a week long trip to New York and am beyond excited to be traveling again. This month my husband and I are traveling carry on style again although since our trip is shorter than our month-long venture last year, packing will be much easier. I will try to blog while I'm gone but it may be a bit quiet on the blog. A full recap of my trip, visits, finds will be on the blog for summer travel but in the meantime you can follow me along on my travels daily through New York City and Brooklyn on social via Instagram @beautylookbook.

As mentioned in previous posts, I tend to bring carry on luggage only for travel (most of my trips are shorter trips). This is for convenience and to help limit what I bring along with me. If I'm traveling with my husband efficiency is key because is has no patience to wait in lines to check luggage or pick it up at baggage claim. When we traveled through Europe bringing carry on bags only with us for 3 weeks and stopped at 9 cities via 7 flights. Having carry on luggage saved us hours of waiting. In case you want to see what I fit into last year's trip you can see my Three Weeks in Europe with Carry-Ons. Fitting everything in such a small space is like playing a game of Tetris trying to make sure no space is wasted.

This year is different. I'll be in New York City and Brooklyn for a week. As I'm tying out this post I'm still trying to sort everything out for casual and business casual looks. Half of the time I will be able to be a tourist in New York, the other half is booked with meetings and a conference. I've found some really cute summer dresses from Nordstrom and Madewell. Ones that are forgiving for those who don't have perfectly toned bodies. My biggest challenge right now is narrowing down what shoes to bring. I struggle between the desire to wear cute shoes and the need to be practical for such a short trip.

The preliminary pack list below, subject to change:


Full recap of what I end up bringing and review of what worked and what didn't to follow. Many of you liked my lessons learned posts last year. I know I always like reading those kinds of posts. Sometimes learning what not to do is just as good as the success stories.


If you have any recommendations on where to eat in the city please let me know! On one of my trip days I will have a couple hours of downtime in Brooklyn - any recs for what to see in a short time would be awesome!

P.S. I'm trying out some new carry on luggage courtesy of a company called Away (one shown above is Sand). They have one product which is a Carry On style luggage and it's priced under $250. Their items come in a few colors and it's equipped with a charging dock in the handle which is awesome. Full review to follow!


Friday, June 17, 2016

Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit in Sun Dipped and Mini Lip Gloss Set in Summer


There are two new launches this summer from Anastasia Beverly Hills that caught my eye. First is a new Glow Kit in Sun Dipped ($40) and a Mini Lip Gloss Set in Summer ($28 for 6 mini glosses). I'll say right up front that I love both and even though I already own the other two Glow Kits in That Glow and Gleam (reviewed here) and a few neutral Lip Glosses (three reviewed here) I think these are worth purchasing if you own the others.

Up first is the new Glow Kit in Sun Dipped which I've been stalking the web for what seems like weeks. It has four large pans of highlighting powders with a high shimmer finish. They are very pigmented but are easy to blend for a diffused look. The product looks very different on my skin compared to what I see in the pans - these appear to be very complex shades with a lot of different colors mixed in. The reflective lighter particles dominate on my skin - so your mileage may vary depending on skin tone.

The four shades include Bronzed which is a warm shimmering bronze, Summer a pale ivory gold shimmer, Moonstone a pale champagne peach frost and Tourmaline a mauve nude shimmer.

On my medium olive skin I like mixing Bronzed and Tourmaline with a brush by dipping it into both shades and then swirling on the cheeks alone. For eyes - all four shades work layered together or using select ones for an all over wash. I love using Summer or Moonstone on top of a neutral beige matte shadow because it helps diffuse the frost a little bit. The two lighter shades have a strong contrast to my olive skin so on the cheeks I have to use with a very light hand.



In direct sun without a flash below the colors look cooler-toned. Light really brings out the warmth of the shades that are apparent when you swatch on the skin.


Comparisons to That Glow and Gleam (both reviewed here). There are definitely similarities between the That Glow and Sun Dipped, you can probably just pick one but I'm highlighter-obsessed and nothing was going to stop me from trying out Sun Dipped.


Next is the Mini Lip Gloss Set in Summer which is currently available online only at Anastasia Beverly Hills (if you've spotted it anywhere else let me know). I ordered sight unseen since the only place I could find it was online. I knew there was a chance that two of the shades would be well outside my comfort zone but I've been really pleased with her lip gloss formula so far and this set has some shades exclusive to the set. I hope they launch them separately in the future. For those who haven't seen my previous reviews, these are full coverage glosses. They come in a few different finishes, most of the colors in this set act like creams that have high shine and opaque color. Only one is a shimmer. They do have a vanilla scent that is pretty strong but it fades after a few minutes.

Six shades:
  • St. Tropez is a stunning duo chrome rose with gold shimmer
  • Blushing is a light-medium cool pink that is actually wearable for me
  • Grape Jelly is an electric purple cream
  • Toffee is a medium nude that has very subtle shimmer
  • Caramel is a warm pink brown
  • Tango is a deep plum with red tones



On the lips, foundation shade worn is NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in Groenland + St. Moritz mixed together (review + swatches in this post here):


Two sets of comparisons:

Buxom Wildly Whipped in Centerfold (review here)
Anastasia Lip Gloss in Undressed and Vintage (review here)
Tarteist Glossy Lip Paint in Obvi and Goals
NARS Lip Cover in Get Dirty and Overheated (review)


YSL Pop Water Gloss Stain in 205 (swatched here)
Buxom Wildly Whipped in Wandress and Swinger (review here)
Marc Jacobs Lip Lacquer in Whip It (reviewed here)
Anastasia Lip Gloss in Metallic Rose (review here)


Both items are phenomenal in terms of quality, pigment and lasting power. The Glow Kit in Sun Dipped is absolutely gorgeous. If I had to pick Sun Dipped or That Glow, I would say for me Sun Dipped is the winner. It has that gorgeous mauve shimmer which is pretty for the eyes and cheeks. The kit is on the shimmery side so I have to use with a lighter hand. If you are medium to tan to deep it will have more contrast on your skin.

The Mini Lip Gloss is pure love for me even though there is one shade that I won't ever wear (Grape Jelly). I think the mini size is really cute and they have the same sponge tip applicator that's flat but flexible. The minis run at 2 g each while the full size glosses are 4.5 g.

You can find the Sun Dipped Glow Kit at Sephora, Ulta Beauty, Macy's and Anastasia Beverly Hills. Right now it appears the Mini Lip Gloss Set is available only at Anastasia Beverly Hills.

Have you looked at these yet?


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

AmorePacific Skincare Testing with the Time Response Collection, Resort Sun Protection Mist and Moisture Bound Intensive Serum Masques


I've been intrigued by Korean skincare for quite some time now and have played with items here and there incorporating bits into my skincare routine. Many of you frequently recommended items from AmorePacific and thanks to your recommendations I've found some favorites including the Color Control Cushion Compact (204 is my match), the Moisture Bound Lip Treatment (best unscented lip treatment I've used), the Moisture Bound Refreshing Hydra-Gel (Oil Free) and the Treatment Cleansing Foam. This summer I've had the opportunity to team up with AmorePacific and try out some items from their Time Response Collection, Resort Collection and Moisture Bound Collection. I've put select skincare items to the test for the past three weeks and have reviews to share today.

First I want to mention the AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compacts as they are great foundations for warm summer weather. I've reviewed them before and in case you missed previous posts a quick recap is that these are weightless sheer to medium coverage foundations in a sponge filled compact. I use 204 which has a golden yellow undertone. It's the most natural foundation I've tried makes the skin look like your own skin but better. They come in a silver mirrored compact filled with a white insert, but there is another sealed package with a refill so I find the price quite reasonable. Below are two separate compacts shown, open vs closed:


Coverage is at most medium if you build it and you can do so without it looking cakey or feeling heavy. It also has SPF 50 and does not irritate my sensitive skin. Since it's really lightweight I think it's ideal for summer weather. I have normal combo skin and it works for me. One of my friends has super dry skin and she loves it too. Swatches of four of the options - I don't have 104 shown, but there's a face chart on their website to help you match online:


Next up is the Time Response Collection which is AmorePacific's most popular skincare line. It's a line that has Green Tea Flower Extract - the benefits of these ingredients are to reduce wrinkles by boosting collagen production, stimulate hyaluronic production to balance the skin and regulate melanin to help with hyper pigmentation. A few of my close friends have urged me to try the Time Response line - stating that the Skin Renewal Cream and Eye Renewal Cream as the best wrinkle-fighters on the planet. The pieces from the collection are very expensive and I decided the best way to get a sense of the line was to try one of the trial sets. The current Time Response Collection set from AmorePacific is the Time Response Skin Renewal Set which has deluxe mini sizes of 6 items. The team ended up sending me a slightly different variation - two items from other lines are mixed into the set I have, so I'll be reviewing items I received.

Below is the Time Response Introductory Set:



Items I tried out with thoughts on each product, full size options are linked in case you want to see the full ingredient list which is on each product page:
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Serum 5ml - this is a highly concentrated serum formula that you apply morning and night before the cream, serums in general help boost the results of moisturizers and when I use them, I notice my skin looks better but I usually prefer to use as few skincare products under my makeup so it's often neglected
  • All Day Balancing Care Serum 10 ml - this is a more lightweight serum compared to the Time Response version, this one is almost like a toner in the sense that it rebalances the skin, I prefer this version to the Time Response, when using this under moisturizer I notice fine lines disappear and skin looks more alive
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Fluid 30 ml - this is a lightweight moisturizer which is a less intense version of the cream, it leaves the skin feeling very moisturized but has a lightweight finish
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Toner 30 ml - this is a balancing toner that restores skin's pH levels and also works to make sure remaining residue after cleansing is removed, it's a moisturizing toner and left the skin feeling well hydrated and plump
  • Moisture Bound Skin Energy Hydration Delivery System 30 ml - is a face spray that comes highly recommended by many of my readers and it's really great at refreshing and cooling the skin during the day
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Cream 15 ml - this is a luxurious face cream designed to reduce wrinkles and sagging, after using this for three weeks I found that it feels very rich and I was worried it would be too heavy but it is not, a little goes a very long way so the small container will probably last me at least a couple of months, I have wrinkles on my forehead and this has started to noticeably reduced fine lines
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Eye Cream 3 ml - another highly recommended product which I've found also goes a very long way with a tiny bit, it works really well to reduce puffiness on me which is my main concern for the eyes right now
I also tried the Moisture Bound Intensive Serum Masque which comes in a box of 2 for $32 or box of 6 for $90. I love trying sheet masks and was really excited to try these and the price seemed really affordable especially if I were to fall in love and want to use these weekly or every other week. These are two-piece masks for the upper and lower face. It comes with a vial filled with serum that you apply directly to the face first before applying the sheet masks on top. They are the thickest most cushiony sheets I've ever tried, there is a peel off section to reveal a gel-like side you apply to the face on top of the serum. It has a soothing cooling feel and leaves the skin feeling plump, revived and glowing. I used one as an at-home face treat so I don't know how the results perform under makeup. The next day after I used the mask my skin felt noticeably smoother and more hydrated.



Last but not least is the new Sun Protection Mist with Broad Spectrum SPF 30 from the new Resort Collection. These days I'm really concerned about anti-aging and protecting my skin from sun exposure. Living in Southern California we have lots of sunshine and I love being outdoors so I'm forever searching for sunscreens. So far there's no one sunscreen for all occasions. Some work better under makeup, others are good for outdoors, and then there are ones I need for sport activity that are sweat-proof. For me there are quite a few good ones that fit the bill on all aspects of what I look for - lasts long, doesn't irritate skin, doesn't clog pores, doesn't sting the eyes but so many have that white cast on the skin. There are very few that have passed my test - the AmorePacific Sun Protection Mist with Broad Spectrum SPF 30 has joined the club.


It's a lightweight mist sunscreen that's completely clear. I sprayed it directly on my face when I first received it then read the instructions and realized that you are supposed to spray on your hands and not on the face. It has a fluid texture that's clear making it disappear on the skin. It has plum extract which helps protect against heat-aging which is new to me and something I wasn't aware of. According to AmorePacific heat exposure accelerates oxidization and inflammation which are the two major causes of premature aging. It also includes ingredients to reduce irritation, keep skin moisturized and cool. Applying on the skin I tried it over the Time Response moisturizers (I tried it over the cream and serum on separate occasions) and it is lightweight enough that it doesn't feel heavy by adding that one more layer. Alone it will look very dewy on the skin but does not feel greasy - let it set on the skin before making any judgements. It works well under makeup. It appears to be designed for the face but I would also use this on the body.


I researched a lot of reviews online before deciding what to try from the line, since the items are pricey I wanted to pick wisely. The reviews on the Time Response Collection are overwhelmingly positive and I was thrilled to be able to test some pieces. I do believe seeing results from skincare takes a lot of time and diligent use - after three weeks I have noticed improvement with fine lines and wrinkles that seem to have creeped up on me. Since the collection is on the expensive side and if you're unsure of what formulas will work best for your skintype, I hands down recommend trying one of the trial sets first which will allow you to sample items at a more affordable price compared to splurging on the full size items.

My favorites from what I tested include the Moisture Bound Intensive Serum Masque, Moisture Bound Face Mist, Sun Protection Mist, All Day Balancing Serum and Time Response Renewal Eye Cream. Once the trial box set is used but I plan on buying the eye cream. Another box of the sheet masks are in my online cart as I type this post ready for checkout.



Serum-wise going forward it's a toss up whether I would decide to splurge on a box of sheet masks which have the serum vials or just purchase a bottle of the serum which sounds more expensive but would probably last a lot longer.

For the face creams, my favorite is still the Moisture Bound Hydra Gel because it's more lightweight and better suited for my normal/combo skin (especially in the summer) and the price points of the Gel and Cream in the Moisture Bound line is a lot easier to swallow for luxury skincare. However the Time Response Renewal Cream is everything everyone has raved about - nothing I've tried has reduced my forehead fine lines and wrinkles as well as this has. My forehead area is probably the part of my face that is most exposed to sun and heat and is more normal-dry versus the rest of my face which is more normal-combo. The main difference between the two lines is the Moisture Bound is more geared towards anti-aging prevention and age delay while Time Response is more reactive to reduce effects of aging. It's noticeable that the effects of the Time Response line are more potent. Now that I just turned 35 I feel like my awareness of wrinkles and fine lines has heightened. I don't know if I will purchase a full size of the cream when my deluxe size is used up but given that the deluxe size has quite a bit of product I will have some time to think about it before splurging.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience testing items from AmorePacific! So many of you have given me such great advice about skincare, especially from the AmorePacific line. If you have anything to add about your experiences, loves or hates please do so in the comments.



Many thanks to AmorePacific for sponsoring this post. Products featured gifted for review. As always all opinons my own. More information in my disclosures.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Chanel Les Beiges Duos 01 and 02 for Summer 2016


There are two face and cheek products in the Chanel Summer 2016 Collection. The Les Beiges Powder Duos are available in two limited-edition shades Duo No. 01 and Duo No. 02 ($65 each for 11 g/0.39 oz, made in France). These are similar in texture and feel to the regular Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Powders which have a very natural look, soft velvety texture and semi-sheer but buildable coverage. Ever since originally reviewing them a few years ago, I've used Shade No. 20 to set for a very soft sheer setting powder. The new duos for summer have a very soft shimmer to them - if any of the blushes, bronzers or highlighters of late have seemed way to shimmery for your taste, these two are among the most subtle. They are perfect for those who don't want a pure matte but don't want a lot of shimmer either.

No. 01 is a duo with a shimmering orange and deep bronze. No. 02 is more like a blush with a pale champagne pink shimmer and medium reddish blush color.


Swatched with a medium to heavy hand below:


No. 01 is a duo with a shimmering orange shade that has a very soft glowy finish and a dark bronze. Mixed together creates a warm and deep bronzed look. You can apply with a fluffy brush for sheer coverage but I found it to be on the pigmented side for a Les Beiges powder. The first time I tried it I put too much on the brush and ended up with dark streaks on each side of my face. Definitely use a lighter hand when applying. That being said the color can be easily blended out. This is one of the darkest bronzer powders I own. If you are light or fair skinned you will most likely find this too warm and too dark.


Comparisons below to:


No. 02 is more blush material for me with a soft pinky shimmer highlighter on the top and a warm reddish coral shade on the bottom. It's a really pretty color for summer I think goes well with the pink Aqua Glossimer in Adenium (reviewed here).


Comparisons below to:



Chanel Les Beiges Duo No. 01 look features Rouge Coco in Vera and Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit in That Glow on the eyes. Chanel Les Beiges Duo No. 02 look features Chanel Aqua Glossimer in Adenium and Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit in Sundipped on the eyes. Foundation worn is NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in Groenland + St. Moritz mixed together.

Overall thoughts are that these are very good powders quality and color-wise. I bought them last month so I've had some time to play with them. The Les Beiges Duo No. 01 is definitely more along the lines of a bronzer while No. 02 is more of a highlighter/blush on me. Based on pulling a few other powders to compare, a few final thoughts:
  • The powder texture is very finely milled and very pigmented for a Les Beiges powder formula.
  • By comparison to other formulas, the Les Beiges Duos are not as pigmented as the Becca Luminous Blushes, but you can still build the color for more intensity.
  • I applied by swirling a large fluffy brush to combine colors, the darker shades in each compact are more pigmented than the lighter top color so the result is that the deeper bottom shade dominates. The top shade helps diffuse and soften the bottom color if that makes sense.
  • No. 01 is easy to overdo - at least it was for me, I consider myself to have medium toned skin. If you're lighter than me, it will probably look orangey on your skin as it is on the warm side. If you're medium to tan to deep, you will probably rejoice that Chanel has finally released a darker colored powder!
  • No. 02 has a very similar effect on me to Hourglass Diffused Heat.
I don't have any regrets buying these but am not sure that I can call them must-haves. If you're looking to update your bronzer or blush collection with new colors that have that lovely satiny soft glow I think you will really like these. Even though it's probably best for conservative makeup wearers like myself to go easy on the shimmer and frost I can't help but be really into the super shimmers for the face that are popular these days.

Both duos are limited-edition. They retail for $65 each, available at Chanel.com and all other Chanel retailers.

Have you tried these yet? What did you think?

 

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