Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Week in New York City


I'm back from spending a week in New York and am so excited to share all the details from my summer trip. A trip to NYC has been on my wishlist for many years - it's been almost 10 years since I was last in the city. I was actually only in New York for 5 days with my husband. Our trip was planned primarily for sight seeing fun and for me trying new food places was high on my list. I mapped out approximately 30 spots prior to leaving knowing I would not be able to make it to most of them, but it was very helpful for planning and narrowing down what to see by location. I had such an amazing time and cannot wait to go back - there's an energy in New York City that can't be matched anywhere else. Summer is such a lovely time to visit although it was quite a bit more humid than the mild weather in Southern California. Thank you to everyone who took the time to e-mail me and message me recommendations! Today I'm sharing the highlights of my trip. More details to follow in separate posts on what I packed, a review of the luggage I tested out, where we stayed and special spots I visited. A quick note to those who expressed some serious concern about me wearing white jeans in the city. I made quick adjustments to my packing list before I left and thank you to each and every one of you for warning me :)

In this post I'm covering sights we saw, places we ate and some thoughts about getting around the city which might be helpful for first-timers or those who haven't been to NYC in a while and are looking for an updated guide. This post is a long one so grab a cup of tea or a snack before reading.


We took the red-eye to NYC with Delta (my husband's preference) and while I do really like flying with them, I will say that we both agreed next time we will not do the red-eye again. Neither of us can sleep on planes. We arrived bright and early at JFK at around 6:00 AM (yes, super early!) and it took us about a 25 minutes to wait in line for a taxi and about 1 hour to get to the city.


During our week in New York we stayed at Langham Place New York on 5th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. Much to our surprise our room was ready even though check in wasn't until afternoon. I spent around 2-3 days researching hotels and online reviews via Trip Advisor - the number of options to pick from in NYC are overwhelming. My husband and I were beyond thrilled with our stay at Langham Place. A dedicated review to follow because this place deserves it - every one was incredibly helpful right from the time we booked our hotel. Upon arrival the service was impeccable -  the concierge, housekeeping, and all the doormen were so amazing. They also leave delicious cookies in the room at turndown - heart won. We found the location was great - although being in NYC it's very easy to get around the city with the subway and taxis.

Bottom left flats by Chloe, bottom right view from our room

For sightseeing we both had a few places we wanted to see together. Both of us have been to New York before but this was the first time we had been together. It was relatively hot and humid during our week there so we did some leisurely sight seeing and didn't rush anything. My favorite place was Central Park - we walked about half of the way through from the south end to the middle. Other places we saw included Washington Square Park, the 9/11 Memorial, Times Square, Battery Park, Bryant Park and Grand Central Terminal. We passed through a lot of areas by walking but those were the highlights. If you're in NYC during the summer I highly recommend you check out the event calendars - at Bryant Park they have the HBO Summer Film Festival going on and they play films on a large screen. We passed by at the end of the one of the films - it was packed but looked really fun.





Night time in the city is an experience in itself. I'm not a huge fan of bus tours but they are a nice way to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. We took the Grayline Double Decker Bus Night Tour which leaves from Times Square and enjoyed it - our tour guide was very entertaining. It was about a 2 hour bus tour and goes from the city to Brooklyn. For the day tours you can hop on and off the bus, but for the night tours it's a continuous ride. A few snapshots of the city at night - some are from the bus tour, some are from dinners and walking around the city.


For the places to eat, we only made it to a small handful of spots on our list, but every place we stopped by was amazing and well worth the extra walking and travel distance to find. Breakfast, lunch and dinner spots included Jack's Wife Freda on Carmine Street (beyond obsessed), Buvette (amazing!!), Shake Shack (burgers are better than In-n-Out, although I didn't really like their french fries), Don Antonio's (pizza is amazing! just like ones from Naples), Momofuku (went twice for the cookies), Laduree Soho (for macarons and tea to bring home as gifts), Cafe Cluny (one of the cutest cozy dinner spots ever) and the Soho House (great views).

If there are any I would deem must visits - it would be Jack's Wife Freda, Buvette and Cafe Cluny. On my next trip I hope to have time for afternoon tea somewhere in the city.


My husband had the waffle sandwich at Buvette and I stole a bite, it was amazing!

These were the only pictures I was able to get of Don Antonio's, the pizza was THAT good and literally gone within minutes. More on them and their menu on Yelp - it can get very crowded, it appeared to be a very popular spot. We were seated right away because we took the spots right by the window instead of the main dining area - but it was cozy and perfect for people watching. Among the top 2 best pizzas I've tried since visiting Italy last year with the soft and fluffy crust.


I will have a separate post on shopping spots that I stopped by. This trip I wasn't able to get much shopping in - there was a lot on my list that I missed this round but there is always next time! Soho is just absolutely adorable - I could spend forever and the rest of my life there. For those who want a sneak peek of what's coming next, I will be covering Bergdorf Goodman x Edward Bess, Space NK in Soho, Birchbox Soho, Diptyque at Grand Central Station and the Away Travel. A quick peek at some snapshots from walking around Soho - it's so charming, I wish I could have spent more time here exploring and shopping. Many of the stores did not open until 11, I was in the area early in the morning so most were not yet open to go inside but it was fun to window shop.


A few thoughts to share on getting around the city and budgeting for transportation from a newbie perspective. It's been a while since I've been in New York but I'm familiar with the metro and subway systems of other cities and also outside the US. Since it has been almost 10 years since I've been to NYC I reached out to a few friends who are New York locals, friends who travel to NY frequently for work and also looked at reviews online.

There are a number of websites and reviews that help break down the cost of transportation between taxis, Uber, or the subway. I'm one of those people who often gets confused about direction and since WIFI can be spotty in larger cities, it takes me longer to navigate my way through new surroundings so I thought worst case scenario was that I would have to take taxis everywhere. I am happy to report that navigating NYC is indeed relatively easy to figure out. In general both my husband and I found the subway easier and faster. The areas I went to were all very safe (even to and from Brooklyn late at night, late as in past 10:00 pm). I took the advice of friends who assured me the subway was safe and just to make sure to be in areas where there were lots of people versus the isolated areas with nobody around.

On budgeting for transportation, we each bought a $20 metro card that we used up almost all the way. For taxis getting to and from the airport runs at a flat fee and with tip it's about $75 to $80 each way. For our taxi trips rates ranged from $8.19 to $33.54 (these numbers included 20% tips). I took the taxi from NYC to Brooklyn once which was the most expensive trip. On taxis - it was recommended that I stick with the yellow cabs and I would highly recommend you do so as well. Total spent on taxis for 5 days (excluding airport transportation) was $160 (including tips), the average taxi ride cost $15ish. Now that we know how to navigate the city next time we will probably use the subway more. I have friends who use Uber every time they go to NYC. This trip we did not try it.

One last note on timing for travel leaving the city to get to the airport. My flight left from JFK at 4:55 pm and the airport guidelines said to arrive at the airport 2 hours prior to take off which meant I would have to arrive at the airport by 2:55 pm. Several assured me I would be ok leaving the city at 2:00 pm but I gave myself an extra 45 minutes since I was leaving on a Friday and I'm glad I did. At around 1:15 pm a traffic surge happened and it took 20 minutes for the doormen to find an available cab. They were so nice about it too, one made several calls to try and find one while the other ran around the block trying to find one with working AC. It was really so impressive how much they went out of their way. Once I was on my way to the airport there was traffic - it took 60 minutes. There was a quick line for airport security - all in all, giving myself the extra time was worth it so I did not have to rush or feel anxious about missing my flight.

A few more snapshots:


One final photo because I know beauty lovers will appreciate this. Net-A-Porter has same day delivery in the city which is so cool. If this showed up at my door to deliver a package I think it would the coolest thing ever. I also wanted to mention that Edward Bess is now carried online at Net-A-Porter!


I hope you enjoyed this roundup of my trip highlights! There's so much to see in New York City and even though there's so much I didn't get to, I enjoyed the week there. I can't wait to go back again. More on the beauty, shops and packing in the upcoming days! I know many of you are eager to see how I packed carry-on style again.

For those who visit NYC either frequently or occasionally, what are you favorite places to go to? We didn't make it to any museums this round since we had a short trip. It's definitely on our list for next time along with places like The High Line, Top of the Rock, the One World Trade Center Observatory (we hope to go inside next time) and for me so much more for the beauty spots :)

For those who follow me on Instagram @beautylookbook, thanks for following along!

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!


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Oribe Travel Trios from Birchbox: Volume Set and Surf Set


There are two new Oribe travel trios that just launched from Birchbox. I've been a lover of all things Oribe for a long time but if you're like me you probably try items from the line piece by piece due to the splurgy prices. The two sets contain travel sizes of some styling products. One is called the Volume Set ($58) and the other is the Surf Set ($55). I die for minis so I think these two sets are just perfect. Both come in a compact clear zip case to hold for travel. All have that signature soft Oribe scent which is hard to describe but smells very distinct and heavenly.

First up is the Volume Set ($58, valued at $66) which contains three styling products for volume. I'm pretty low maintenance on my hair when it comes to volumizing because I have thick hair to begin with. Sometimes I like to use a texturizing product on the ends to add a bit of oomph to the hair, but I'm big on having soft touchable hair. Lots of volumizing products are great at adding volume but make the hair crunchy. Oribe manages to add volume but keep the hair still relatively soft.


In this set are purse-sized minis of:
  • Grandiose Hair Plumping Mousse (2.5 oz) - This is a shake and dispense kind of foamy product that you apply to damp hair before styling. I use this before blow drying my hair and it adds volume throughout like nothing else I've tried. Hair is full and voluminous after using this one. My hair was left with some texture but still soft. On my hair the volume lasted all day long when I tried this in the morning. It really gives the hair a boost at the roots (which is what I look for when I do look for added volume).
  • Thick Dry Finishing Spray (2.2 oz) - This is a product designed to add a boost to your hair if your hair is prone to getting limp after a blow dry. Out of all the Oribe products I've tried this is one of the few that didn't really do much for my hair - but there is a chance I'm not using this correctly. I've tried this a number of ways - after a blow dry, as a refresher, as a touch up product, before going out. It doesn't really add volume or oomph. It does act like a hair refresher if it's a tiny bit shiny at the scalp area. If you've used this please let me know how you use it! Based on reviews I've read, if you have fine hair you will see results. For those with thicker hair like mine, you might not see much of a difference.
  • Dry Texturizing Spray (2.2 oz) - This is one of my favorite hair texturizing products EVER. It's part dry shampoo and part texturizer - I wash my hair daily but sometimes when it gets a bit oily this is the best oil absorber that doesn't turn my hair white/grey/dusty looking. I know all dry shampoos say to brush out the product and that the white will disappear. Not all dry shampoos are the same and many make my hair look dusty and grey. The one from Oribe just works. It adds texture and volume and smells incredible.
__________________________

Next is the Surf Set ($55) which I really adore. This one has items that are good for creating that slightly undone beachy kind of hair look. My hair has a slight natural wave - when I air dry it, it often gets very big and frizzy. Two of these are miracle workers.


In this set you get:
  • Surfcomber Tousled Texture Mousse (2.5 oz) - This is a mousse product that feels on the sticky side on the hands. I find this one best used on wet or damp hair and it will give your hair the perfect piecey-beachy kind of textured hair. I found it easy to overdo so I recommend using as little as possible. You do have to give it a good shake before you dispense. I love the results when using this either blow dried or air dried. Hair is left soft but still feels like there's some texture in it. For me this is more on the high maintenance side so I probably wouldn't use this on a regular basis.
  • Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray (2.1 oz) - Is a product that is similar to the Surfcomber in the sense it gives your hair that beachy tousled look, but gives the hair a bit of natural shine. The Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray is my favorite beach-hair kind of styling product. I apply it to the hair after washing and towel drying. I let the hair air dry and the result is a natural wavy frizz-free textured kind of look. I really love this one.
  • Supershine Moisturizing Cream (1.7 fl oz) - This is just as the name implies. It adds shine and moisture to the hair making it look healthy. It adds shine without getting too heavy or greasy looking (even by late afternoon or evening). It helps tame flyaways and reduces frizz. I find it helps a lot when my ends get dry looking or feeling. It's like magic in a tube. I use it as a styling/finishing product best, but it also works as a pre-blowout kind of product to work through damp hair.

Both sets are winners in my opinion. I've rarely been let down by anything I've tried from Oribe. The only item I'm not 100% in love with is the Thick Dry Finishing Spray - but I need to consult one of my friends on how to use it as I'm pretty sure I'm not using it correctly. I would buy the full size of all other items (I have multiples in the mini sizes).

You can find the Surf Set ($55) and Volume Set ($58) online at Birchbox. You can buy most of the items in the travel size separately, but you do get a bit of a price break by buying the sets. There's also the Purse Collection ($72) online which has minis of the Superfine Hair Spray, Dry Texturizing Spray, Apres beach Spray and Anti-Humidity Spray.

I highly recommend both sets, they each focus on achieving different looks for the hair, but you can't go wrong with either. I love the travel sizes in general because they're really cute. Even is something is phenomenal and comes with high ratings, I still like to try smaller sizes first.

Do you have any Oribe favorites? Please let me know! I die for the Cleansing Creme.

Both Oribe sets sent courtesy of Birchbox for review consideration.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Travel Gift Guide for the Girl on the Go/Jetsetter


Today's gift guide is for the traveler and girl on-the-go. I've done a few travel posts before focusing on travel beauty which have been well received so I've included some favorites for gift ideas. I love that so many of you have given me recommendations in the past, I think they are so helpful to see what's really useful and worked. If you have any to add it would be greatly appreciated!
  1. Wool and Cashmere Scarf - Nordstrom makes my favorite classic wool and cashmere blend scarves, they come in a lot of colors. These makes great gift for those who travel a lot because it's compact and easy to store in your bag or purse.
  2. Frends Layla Headphones in Rose Gold/White - These have to be the prettiest headphones I've ever seen, I have and love the Bose Quietcomfort 25 Noise Cancelling ones - you don't know how good they are until you use them on the plane, they are super pricey but well worth the splurge if you travel a lot.
  3. Canon Powershot G16 Camera - I have and love the Canon G16. I use it for a lot of blog photos and travel. It's easy to use and works really well in low light situations. Another popular option is the Canon Powershot G7x which has a flip screen.
  4. Le Metier de Beaute Kaleidoscope Kits - I love these because they are so versatile and the well-coordinated colors make them super easy to use. Full Stream swatches + review here.
  5. West 57th Luggage Tag - I love Henri Bendel for cute and affordable accessories. This one is affordable chic option made of Saffiano leather.
  6. Passport Case - this one comes in a variety of colors and you can also personalize it!
  7. Mophie Powerstation Charging Unit - Maybe not the most exciting gift, but I have several of these and find them essential for last minute recharging on-the-go.
  8. Clemency Silk Sleeping Mask - This is so pretty I want one for myself. Also available in this pink floral option.
  9. L'Occitane Hand/Foot Cream Duo  - I think hand creams are usually on hand for most women I know, but often times foot creams are forgotten! It's something I always wish I had while traveling so I end up using hand lotion on my feet instead.
  10. Anya Hindmarch Inflight Travel Case - This is my favorite travel accessory. It makes packing so much easier because it really helps you limit your beauty items to just the essentials. It has two compartments which allows you to flip it over and have easy access (no digging around). You can see what I fit inside mine in this post here.
  11. Byredo Bal D'Afrique Roller Ball Perfume  - I think buying perfume as a gift can be tricky unless you know the person well. For the traveler - if you know what her favorites are, pick up a travel size option. My friends who frequently have to travel at a last minute's notice usually appreciate having a purse-size travel option on hand to throw in their bag.
  12. Kowonhye Easy Go Compact Brush Set from MustaeV - A good brush set is essential for any traveler. There are so many options these days it's easy to find one. I've really liked the MustaeV Easy Go brushes and the Kowonhye Set has six very well made brushes for eyes, cheeks and face. It comes in a sturdy zip pouch that protects all your tools as well.
  13. Truffle Clarity Clutches - I think those who read this blog could bet $$$ that I would include this in my travel gift guide. I use these on a daily basis. Last year I stocked up on quite a few during their sale. They make really good quick and easy gifts for anyone.
  14. Longchamp Expandable Travel Tote (21") - My husband and I bought this while in Paris because our carry-on situation wasn't quite working (full story here). We found it to be the most affordable option that would allow us to carry a little bit more while still working as a carry on. The associate assured us when fully zipped it would pass all airline size requirements for under the seat. We were able to use it without any issues. Another good tote option for travel is the Tumi Just-In-Case Tote. It folds up into a compact square that you can put in your suitcase for those just in case moments.
  15. Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist and Sheet Mask - Anyone who travels frequently knows how easy it is for skin to become dry and parched with air travel. I hands down recommend Tatcha gifts - especially the travel sized versions. (Friends and family sale is still going on for 20% with code FF2015 at checkout, valid until 12/6.)
  16. T3 Featherweight Compact Folding Dryer - I bought one during the Nordstrom sale over the summer and really like it. Although most hotels these days have hair dryers, unless you stay at the same hotel in every city you travel, you never really know what kind of dryer will be in your room (or how old it is). This one folds so it fits nicely into your suitcase or bag. Review in this post here.



What are your favorite travel essentials that you would recommend gifting? P.S. I'm hosting a giveaway via Instagram - if you're interested you can enter here.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Three Weeks in Europe with Carry-Ons


Today by popular request I've compiled a list of what I brought with me on my Europe trip in carry-on form. It's been over a month since I've been back home from our three week trip - sorry it's taken me so long to publish this post - it took me a while to figure out how to photograph and edit everything. I'm still missing Europe very much and it took me a while to get adjusted back to reality. I hope to go back again very soon.

To recap, my husband and I spent three weeks traveling through Europe. We traveled to 9 cities via 7 flights and one 7 day cruise. It was my husband's decision that we travel with carry-ons only. His logic behind this decision was based on a number of things: we would avoid long lines at airport check-in, we'd save time from having to wait at baggage claim, we wouldn't have to worry about lugging heavy suitcases around Europe, and we could try to look less touristy. I had no intention in participating and had plans to pack regular suitcases like normal people do. However after doing a lot of research on airline reviews (there are so many horror stories about bad experiences) I decided to make it work with carry-on bags.

I've traveled with carry-on suitcases that fit US Airline standards but European Airlines have different dimension restrictions on luggage. All the options in the US are larger than what European Airlines list as acceptable. I didn't want to risk it so we decided to go the backpack route. My husband helped research travel backpacks and day packs. He picked out this Pacsafe Venturesafe 45L GII Backpack. It worked to fit all of his clothes, flip flops, and laptop. He's over 6 feet tall and it worked for him, but I'm 5'3" so this one didn't work for me. We looked for one a bit smaller and I opted for the Ultimatesafe 22L version. This combined with my Tumi Voyageur Tote (mine is an old model, current ones here) is what I brought with me on our trip.

These two bags fit all my clothes and makeup. For reference, my two other packing posts for this three-week trip below (note my husband carried his own products in his own bag):


Left backpack fit clothes, flipflops and one makeup pouch
Right tote fit my laptop, electronics cables/cords and earphones + liquids


Inside each of my bags shown above, I used several things to organize and compact my items. If you order items directly from J.Brand they will send denim and tees packed in these nifty black pouches (shown on the far left). I've kept them from previous orders and brought 2 of them with me to keep tops in one and jeans in another. I know people usually say roll your clothes. I think it works with regular rectangular shaped suitcases. I found flat packing to be better for me, but there's really no right or wrong. We also used a number of the Eagle Creek Packing Cubes. I brought three: one small one for electronics, one for clothes, one for small items such as socks, underwear and swimsuits. (My husband brought and packed the Translucent Specter Pack-It Cubes).

Another item I packed was the Eagle Creek RFID-Blocking Undercover Money Belt. I only used this a few days when we did sight-seeing activities where we wanted to be hands free. We used a number of Muji Clear Pouches (featured in this post here) that we found really handy. It kept things organized and easy to find.

Many have asked for a very specific list of everything I brought with me. I've split it up into categories to help make things easy to view. First up include electronic devices. I brought multiples of some items since both my husband and I had our phones, laptops and one iPad. For our flight I splurged on the Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones. They were well worth the high price. These make a world of difference and are really great for long flights. I brought one Tumi USB Travel Adapter and several Apple plugs, cords and the World Travel Adapter. For charging I had one for my camera. These Mophie Powerstation Chargers are lifesavers. I brought two and it was definitely worth bringing both of them on our trip. I use them in everyday life too. Having an extra one charged up in my purse is great for times I have super low battery. I kept most of our electronic plugs and cords stored in the smallest size of the Eagle Creek Black Pack Cubes.


Onto the clothes I packed. We spent our first week in Paris and second week in Rome, but my mind was set on our cruise through Greece. Here are the clothes I packed. Most items were thin in material and I'm petite so it was relatively easy to keep everything compact to fit into my backpack. Keep in mind I had one outfit on at all times, so everything pictured below minus one outfit was what was packed in my carry-on.


The tanks and tees worked really well for warm hot weather. The ones I brought were lightweight in material so they folded up easily and didn't take up a lot of space. I brought two casual dresses with me. In hindsight we both should have brought at least one nice outfit but we kept thinking our vacation would be a relaxing trip. Also if we needed something more formal, we could just buy something in Paris or Rome. Due to the limited luggage space we didn't buy any clothes. We had to pass on several restaurants we wanted to go to because we didn't have anything formal enough. In the end though we had a really good time and had lots of fun so it didn't matter. Next time we know to pack differently.


J.Crew Drapey Sleeveless Tee (Black, Pale Silver and Heather Sky)
J.Brand Natasha Tank (grey, second from left)
J.Brand Coronado Tank (fifth from left)
Banana Republic Tank (green)
Zara Low-Back Floral Dress

I brought two sweaters with me and two long-sleeved tees. One tee I threw away on the trip as well because I ripped it and it was beyond saving. J.Crew makes the best long-sleeve tees I've tried, they have lots of colors and I like the stripe ones. One soft cardigan was packed on day trips for places I needed to have shoulders covered. In the hot summer heat there were days I would have died if I wore long-sleeves the entire day so having a light weight sweater rolled up in my purse was a lifesaver. I packed one jacket which worked well throughout the trip.

J.Crew Boatneck Stripe Tee (old style, similar here)
Banana Republic White Woven Moto Jacket (in-store only)

For bottoms, I could have skipped one pair of jeans (probably would have left the white ones at home). Having four pairs of shorts was definitely good for me. I packed one skirt to wear out at night with any of the tops shown above and one pair of yoga shorts to sleep in.

J.Crew 3" Chino Shorts (white, tan and grey)
J.Brand Cropped Rail (white denim)

Miscellaneous items include three swimsuits (I could have been fine with two), 1 pair of flip flops and 1 pair of sneakers. Many asked if I thought bringing the Pumas over Nikes was a good idea. Let me first say that I usually hate sneakers. I'm a flats or sandals kind of person, but I needed a good pair of walking shoes for our trip. The Pumas worked really well - they did take 2-3 days to break in. After wearing them for 3 weeks walking hundreds of miles, I have to say that I do like them and give them a thumbs up. If I were to do it over again though, I would have brought Nike sneakers instead. In my experience they just feel a lot better.

For an everyday tote, having something with fully closed zipper at the top was essential. I didn't have to worry about pick pockets. A simple canvas material is also non-flashy and doesn't draw unnecessary attention. I opted for the shoulder version which worked just fine. It's small enough to fit my petite 5'3" frame but large enough to hold my camera, wallet, water bottle, sweater and then some. Cross-body bags might be a good option if you have a very compact camera. I found it difficult to find one suitable for all my needs so the tote was the next best thing for me.

1 Pair of Flipflops (Havaina Flip Flops shown above, I actually brought a pair of Tory Burch with me, but they were ruined by the end of our trip so I threw them away while we were on our cruise)

I didn't photograph my socks or underwear but I did bring enough for 10 days worth of wear. In our three weeks away, we did our laundry four times. Twice we hand washed items in our hotel sink. The other two times we had laundry service on our cruise ship. Ideally we could have done laundry once or twice but it was so hot there were days we went back to our hotel to change mid-day so we went through clothes quickly.

We made the carry-ons work. I brought one backpack and one tote. My husband brought one backpack. After our first week in Paris we decided to buy one Longchamp Expandable Tote to carry souvenirs and disperse some clothes so they weren't all squished. It was the largest carry-on tote we could find at a relatively affordable price. The sales rep who helped us said he knew for a fact all European airlines would consider this acceptable so we bought it. I like it because you can unzip it around the middle to expand it. It comes with a large over the detatchable shoulder strap. My husband on the other hand hates it. He prefers bags that have some support, structure or decent pockets. This one is just an open nylon tote. It's very sturdy and durable but it has no shape so you can fold it and put it away easily.


If we could go back in time and do it all over again there is not much we would change given our itinerary. We had a lot of stops and quite a few flights. I can't tell you how relieved we were at the airport when we were able to skip lines to check and weigh bags. Most airlines have weight restrictions but as long as your bag doesn't look heavy we found most didn't weigh our carry ons. My backpack at the heaviest was 17.3 pounds (most weight limits were around 19-20 pounds). It was a bit challenging but it's definitely do-able. We would have definitely packed 1-2 nicer outfits. I would have brought one nice pair of shoes. To make room for those I could have skipped a lot of the beauty or skincare items I packed. Paris has so much to offer, I could have relied on pharmacy minis for the entire trip.


Our next trip to Europe will consist of fewer destinations so we will definitely be taking regular suitcases. It was all our flights and stops that made us decide to do carry-ons only. Had we planned to stop in 2-3 places, suitcases would have been the way to go.

I hope you found this post helpful! I don't think there's a right or wrong way to travel. I know many who travel with carry-ons only all the time and they make it work.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

My Summer Haul from Europe


As promised I have a post today on the items I bought while traveling in Europe. Out of the ten cities we visited across France, Italy, Greece and Turkey, I did most of my shopping in Paris. At the top of my list was the Diptyque store on 34 Boulevard St. Germain. The store is so beautiful inside - I wish I could transport the entire store to my home. At the store I picked up two items including the Feuille de Lavande Room Spray and the Mousses Candle. I've burned through one Moss candle before as it's available at the boutiques in the US but it suffered really bad tunneling because I didn't burn it properly the first time (my candle care tips here). For the room sprays there were a number of unique scents. Cypress was really interesting and Mimosa was so pretty. I wish I had bought a few more - we only have three in the US (Figuier, Baies and 34).




First up for splurges are two picks from Fauré Le Page. I've been researching this brand via the Fauré Le Page Purse Forum. There are a number of helpful pictures, descriptions and other bits of information on everything Fauré Le Page. The pretty patterns of their bags caught my eye. It has a similar vibe to Goyard which I adore. In Paris I visited two locations: there is a stand alone boutique on Rue Cambon and also a store at Galeries Lafayette Haussmann. I went in for just the Pochette 20 (currently 190 euros). They were very limited on stock for most of the colors, I was hoping for the blue and grey, but were out. The green one is pretty though so I left with one. A shoulder tote called Daily Battle caught my eye (small size I bought was 650 euros). There were two grey versions, one with a light beige-grey trim and one with the navy. It's very sturdy and made of a thick canvas. The material is slightly textured and looks like it will hold up really well.


Below I've posted a comparison of the Daily Battle to a Goyard St. Louis Tote. In Paris the Daily Battle for the small size was priced at 650 euros which converts to a little over $700 making it much more affordable than the Goyard St. Louis totes (last I checked they were priced at $1,200-$1,600ish depending on color). The style is similar - open inside without any pockets and lined with canvas. The finish and textures are different though. The Goyard is thinner in material but still very sturdy. It also comes with a detatchable pouch. Fauré Le Page is thicker with an adjustable strap. There is a ring inside to attach items to but it does not come with a separate pouch inside. Measurements of the ones I have to compare:

Fauré Le Page Daily Battle (small)
17.5 inches wide
11.25 inches tall
base is about 6.25 inches x 12.25 inches

Goyard St. Louis PM
18 inches wide
11 inches tall
base is about 5.25 inches x 13 inches

For the Pochettes the smallest Fauré le Page makes is the Pochette 20 which measures about 6 inches tall by 8 inches wide. Goyard makes a smaller size (shown in black below). The comparable one in Goyard is the same width at 8 inches wide but is slightly shorter at 5.5 inches tall. I don't remember what the prices were for Goyard, I bought mine a long time ago - I want to say the small one was around $300ish and the medium was at least double. The Fauré Le Page Pouch comes with a detachable wristlet strap and was priced at 190 euros.

At Hermes I picked up two Micro Rivale leather bracelets with the rose gold hardware. I have small wrists and it's hard to find the leather bracelets in the XS size. Rose Gold is relatively new so I splurged on the ivory and teal leather. A sneaky photo from inside the store.



In Rome, I bought some small L'Occitane Bonne Mere cubes. I thought they were mini soaps but they're actually bath cubes (oops). I still really like them and wish they were available in the US but the shower gels are just as good and I've repurchased the Rosemary and Oilive Oil ones several times over. At the French Pharmacies I was like a deer in headlights. I didn't pick up a lot because we were traveling with carry on only. I picked up a small Bioderma Cleansing Water, Avene Cleanance Micellar Water for oily skin and a small Nuxe Hand Cream + Lip Balm duo. In the US you can find the travel size Bioderma Sensibio (same as the French Crealine) from Beautylish. The Nuxe Hand Cream + Lip Balm Duo is available online at Nuxe. I haven't been able to find the Avene Cleanance Micellar Water in the US.


In Athens we picked up a Korres Sunscreen set with SPF 50. The Body Spray is very gentle but lasts a long time on the skin. The Face Cream Sunscreen is amazing as well. I haven't been able to find the SPF versions in the US.


From Printemps, I picked up their exclusive Primavera Diptyque Candle (launched to celebrate their 150th anniversary) which smells like really sweet roses. I haven't burned it yet but I'm in love with the white and pink packaging. From Chanel I picked up a few things exclusive to Europe. The Vitalumiere Loose Powder comes with a brush. I picked up three shades, 20, 30 and 40 (right now I'm a match to 40). It's quite messy but gives enough coverage that you can use it alone instead of foundation or powder foundation. Also new in Paris is the Sublimage SPF 50 which is wonderful. It's thicker than the UV Essential and acts more like a cream. It has the Sublimage skincare ingredients in it so it's not just a sunscreen. I wish I had stocked up on a few more tubes while I was in Paris (it was 98 euros). For fragrances almost all the scents had multiple versions and sizes. They have the small concentrated parfum bottles - I was torn between three of them, they were on the pricey side because they are concentrates. I picked up Allure. From L'Artisan I bought a few items as gifts including a fragrance sampler set and the La Chasse Aux Papillons Rollerball (which you can find now at Sephora).


Sephora France was probably one of my favorite places to shop. I left with a few things, I'm surprised it was this limited. I picked up a Dior Nail Polish in Sundown and Addict Fluid Stick in Beige Passion (both of which don't appear to be available in the US). I also picked up the Addict Fluid Stick in Ciel Rose which is a US color you can find at Sephora. In Paris they had these tiny empty clear containers in the travel section. I picked up several which I think will come in handy for future trips. Also at the check out line were these cute Craig and Karl hand creams. There were two other scents in Peony and Lagoon. I wish I had picked up a few as they had fun designs and prints on the cases. Two other items I picked up: the By Terry Hyaluronic Sheer Lipstick in #3 Nude Pulp (you can find it in the US at Beautylish) and a Chanel Sublime Waterproof Mascara (not available in the US).

Last but not least, I brought home some chocolates, tea and jellies from Angelina and Laduree. A lot of the chocolates are already gone. I'm surprised there is still anything left after a couple of weeks but I've been rationing the hazelnut spreads. I may or may not have been hiding them from my husband.


I hope you enjoyed reading about my Europe haul! Next time I go, I will plan the shopping better and make sure I bring a proper suitcase so I can bring home more of the chocolates, teas and one of each of the Diptyque Room Sprays.

 

design + development by fabulous k | COPYRIGHT © 2009-2016 THE BEAUTY LOOK BOOK