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

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.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Travel Beauty For Three Weeks in Europe

Today I have a roundup of what makeup I brought with me on my 3-week vacation. My travel beauty picks for makeup and tools were packed into my Anya Hindmarch In Flight Patent leather-trimmed travel case and MustaeV Bloom Pouch (liquids, skincare and fragrance packing in this post here). These kept everything compact, organized and made everything relatively easy to find. Above photo: Longchamp Expandable Tote, Marc by Marc Jacobs Rimless Aviators, sandals by Hermes. Beauty details broken down below.

First up makeup breakdown. I limited myself to 1 eyeshadow palette. I usually almost always bring one of the Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Palettes with me on travel because they are versatile and can be used to create a number of looks. I decided to try something new for this trip and brought the MAC Nordstrom Naturals Palette with me instead. It worked just as well to create a number of different looks - I like that there's a good mix of matte and shimmer. If you're limited on space - there are some good browns that can double as brow powder.

For face products I brought a mini tube of NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in St. Moritz (currently only in one size, I was lucky it was a good shade match). Other face cream products listed in my liquids post. For powder I brought my Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder in Shade 2, I knew there was a chance I would get a tan on my trip so I brought the Chanel Powder Foundation in Beige 30 and 40 with me (40 shown above).

For cheeks products I brought the NARS Dual Intensity Blush in Craving, Edward Bess All Over Seduction in Afterglow, Edward Bess Bronzer in Daydream, Tom Ford Cream Blush in Pink Sand (discontinued) and Charlotte Tilbury Blush in Ecstasy. I definitely could have skipped a few of these but I'm one who always layers cheek products.

Eye makeup included my favorite stick shadow Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick in Rosegold. For pencils I brought Marc Jacobs Ro(Cocoa) which is the perfect bronzey taupe liner (it lasts all day). I also brought the Tom Ford Liquid Eyeliner, NARS Brow Perfector, Chanel Fresh Effect Eyeshadow in Caroube and Charlotte Tilbury Chameleon Pencil in Amber Haze. I also brought my NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Himalia which is a good bronzey tan beige shimmer for the lids and one waterproof mascara by Guerlain.

I kept my lip products edited to one lipliner in Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk. For lipsticks I brought three including Tom Ford Summer Lip Color Sheers in Skinnydip and Rose Soleil and one Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Reveuse.

Tools and brushes:

Above (excuse the messy brushes, I haven't had a chance to wash them yet):

MustaeV Bloom Pouch (large, also featured here and here)
MAC 135 Large Flat Powder Brush is a new brush from MAC, it's large fluffy and flat which is perfect for a sheer dusting of powder or bronzer
MAC 239 and MAC 219 Brushes
Chanel Powder Brush is a dense brush ideal for powder foundation
Chanel Eyelash Curler (discontinued)

Several of you have asked about the Anya Hindmarch case that I've previewed on a few posts and on Instagram. I bought mine from Net-A-Porter although several have told me they've found it discounted at Duty Free locations while they were traveling. Based on online photos and reviews I couldn't tell if it was one open case with two openings or if it had two compartments. It has two compartments - one is slightly deeper than the other. It's fairly pricey for a makeup pouch but the material is very sturdy and it's very well made.

The MustaeV Bloom Pouch comes in two sizes, small and large. I discovered the line at The Makeup Show LA earlier this year and love them. I brought the large one with me on this trip. The small one was featured in this travel post back in April. I've added a repost shot of the large one below to show how it stands up.

For three weeks I brought plenty to last me the entire trip. I did miss my eyeshadow palettes and lip glosses but given the heat and warm weather a good portion of the trip was makeup-free for me so it didn't really matter. I worried that skipping concealer would be a mistake but my skin has cleared up pretty nicely in the past few months so for face coverage, tinted moisturizers and powder was enough.

In case you missed it, how I packed all my liquids in this post here (Muji containers, clear pouches, his and hers travel skincare, fragrance and body care):

What do you like to bring with you on extended trips? Do you have any packing tips or favorite carrying cases?

The MustaeV bloom pouch and easy go brush was gifted during The Makeup Show. The Afterglow highlighter was also a gift courtesy of Edward Bess.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Traveling Through the Mediterranean: Greece and Turkey

The last part of our Europe trip was through the Mediterranean. We took a seven day cruise from Athens through the Greek Isles to Istanbul. This was the first time I have experienced a cruise - we booked our trip with Celebrity Cruises on the Equinox. We boarded the ship in Athens, spent a day at sea, and then had day stops in Rhodes, Mykonos, Santorini, Kusadasi and Istanbul and were at sea each evening. The Equinox was an impressive ship - standing at the port and looking up it was hard to believe the entire structure was floating in the water (there were 16 decks). The ship was well maintained and the staff kept it extremely clean. It was nice to be able to relax and unwind each night after our day trips. I do think in terms of having time to explore, cruises can be limiting since your time in each city is limited from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Still it was a nice way to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time. All the islands we stopped at were beautiful. The water was so bright and clear. Beaches were so beautiful - I loved how they were all organized. I wish I could be on a permanent vacation in Mykonos, I hope to visit again someday. My heart goes out to all who live in Greece due to the financial crisis!

We spent one day in Athens before we boarded our cruise which was enough time to walk around the city, visit the Acropolis and enjoy some delicious Greek food. I stopped in a few pharmacies to see how they compared to those in Paris and Rome. There are a lot of similarities in the setup, but the pharmacies in Athens carry different brands and sometimes items more similar to American drugstores rather than just health and beauty products. We took a hop-on-hop-off bus through Athens. A few photos from our day there.

Rhodes was our first stop. We didn't plan anything in advance and taking any buses or tours to Lindos would take up a significant amount of time. We decided to walk around the port area and enjoy the beaches nearby. We stopped by the Palace of the Grand Master and walked around the streets. I wish we could have spent an extra day here to see more.

Above with my Longchamp Small Tote which I carried around with me for our vacation. It was the perfect size to carry essentials including my camera, wallet, tickets. It was lightweight but roomy. At times I was able to fit in a sweater, my husband's jacket and a water bottle inside. The zip top closure was perfect to keep everything tucked away and safe. I didn't have to worry about pickpockets with it zipped closed.

Mykonos was my favorite place out of all the islands we visited. We took a local bus to Elia Beach which was only 4 euros each for a round trip (compared to the cruise beach transfers priced at $50 each). It was approximately a 20 minute drive from the port to the beach. I hope to go back again to visit and spend more time here. We only had enough time to visit the beach for about 4 hours and have lunch before we had to head back to the ship.

Santorini was the place I was most excited to visit. My feelings about our trip were mixed though (scroll down and you will see why). The day we visited there were four other cruise ships in port at the same time making everything extremely packed and busy. We went to the Perivolos Beach which is a black sand beach. It was really hot and the sand felt like it burned the feet but the water was nice and warm. Santorini is such a beautiful place - one day is not enough to see much of anything but we had a lot of fun at the beach.

To reach the town, they ferried us to a dock where buses go up a steep, windy and narrow road up the cliffs. To get back down to the ship, there are cable cars and also steps down the cliff where they have donkeys. By 3:45 pm, the lines for the cable cars were extremely long. After waiting 30 minutes, the line didn't seem like it was moving so my husband decided we should just walk down. I read about the steps ahead of time and insisted on waiting in line for the cars. My husband left for a few minutes to check it out, came back and said "they aren't bad at all and the steps are really wide" so I said ok. If you google "Santorini donkey steps" you will see that the steps are wide, but extremely steep, slippery and dangerous. We were almost run over by donkeys multiple times. My husband insists that he saw 3 year olds and 60+ year olds going down the hill with no problem. For me it was 500+ steps of pure terror as I have a fear of heights. It took us over an hour to walk down because I was so slow. We heard later from others on our ship that the cable car line was up to 3 hours for some people. If you visit Santorini - I do not recommend walking down the hill.

Above to the right, if you click on the image you might be able to see the cable cars. The arrow points to the steep zigzag cliff we walked down. I seriously thought I was going to die.

Our last stops were in Turkey. We stopped by Kusadasi, Ephesus and Istanbul. My husband is in love with Turkish Coffee. I was amazed to see wild cats and dogs everywhere. I wanted to take some of the cats home with me. At one of the restaurants there was a black kitten under our table. We fed him some of our kebabs.

Below: Kusadasi, Blue Mosque, Ephesus, Turkish Coffee + Cafe Latte

Sailing into the port at Istanbul

Hagia Sophia

 Parrots in the Topkapi Gardens

 Topkapi Palace Gardens

A few more shots from our cruise:

Above: Havaianas, Rayban Aviators, Marc by Marc Jacobs Rimless Aviators, Longchamp Small Tote, Gray Malin iPhone 5 case (discontinued, but 6 cases here), Dior Sundown, Korres Sunscreen

My favorite bronzer Edward Bess Daydream

I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to travel to Europe and visit so many beautiful places. I haven't visited Europe since 2001 - this trip was long overdue. Out of all the places we visited, my top two favorites were Paris and Mykonos. I can't wait to visit again - I am hoping we will be able to do another trip somewhere in Europe next spring.

Have you been to Greece or Turkey? What should I add to my travel wish list?


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