Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Traveling Light for Weekend Getaways: Part II

[All products were purchased by me except *, which were gifts from friends. No affiliate links.]

(Click here for Part I - packing and plane wear).

Since I only take a carry-on, my liquids are limited to 100 mL (3.4 oz) or less, and all have to fit in one quart-sized zipped bag (the US TSA site lists the regulations for domestic and international flights originating here. I'm not sure how it differs around the world). I usually take = a ZipLock, but I might buy one of the clear, plastic TSA-compliant bags later (or put it on my holiday wishlist).

The baggie contains liquid skincare and makeup items, and basics like toothpaste and contact solution. Lipsticks and powders don't need to go in here. I skip shower products - when we stay in hotels (which is most of the time), I just use whatever shampoo and soap they offer; if we stay with friends/family, I pop into a drugstore and pick up travel-sized shampoo, conditioner and body wash that I can ditch at the end of the stay. I'm far more picky about what I use on my face.
What I pack in the baggie. Not pictured: mini toothpaste, contact solution, small bottle of cleanser, but they usually also fit.

I'm not a big fan of decanting products into little tubes and jars, for various reasons, though that is one convenient way of taking all of your favorite products with you. I actually love deluxe samples of products I already use, which are often offered up as Sephora perks, brand GWPs, or available for sale. I try to avoid samples of products that I've never used before - I don't want to deal with allergic or unfortunate reactions while traveling.

I stick to a moisturizer, serum, cleansing oil, cleanser, and sunscreen. I also sometimes bring full body sunscreen, depending on the nature of the trip...or I make S. bring it, or we just buy one at the destination. I have dry skin so I really notice if I skip serum; if that doesn't plague you, it's probably the most expendable over a temporary period.
The 4-pc Laneige trial set at Target - $10.

The Laneige Water Bank Moisture Cream is my AM/PM moisturizer, and two trial-sized Laneige skincare sets are available for purchase - the 6-pc set ($29), and the 4-pc trial set ($10). The tubes in the 4-pc set are great for trialing, but also for travel. The jars in the 6-pc set are bigger, and nice for longer trips. At home, I use a hydrating Vichy serum, but I take the mini Laneige Water Bank Serum on trips.

Tatcha also does a lot of great travel sizes - I bought a mini cleansing oil for my trip to Korea, actually. MAC and Clinique (and other brands, I'm sure) also often do seasonal LE minis that I try to keep an eye out for, especially during traditional "travel" seasons like summer and the winter holidays.
Example of the makeup products and tools (aside from the liquids in the first photo that go in the liquids bag) that I take on a trip. Lipstick choices are usually one glam (Dior Trafalgar), one casual (Dior Diablotine Addict), and one "wildcard" (MAC Pleasant Patentpolish Lip Pencil*). I try to take a neutral blush that pairs well with all lipsticks, like this mini Tarte Stellar.* 

For makeup, as for outfits, it really does depend on the purpose of the trip. In general, I pare it down to 1-2 of each item, maybe 2-3 for lips. I rarely miss anything I left behind. If we're staying casual, I take a simple eye trio like my favorite Shiseido BE213; if we're attending a wedding or nice dinner, I take a more "day to night," option like Marc Jacobs The Enigma. Then it's one blush, maybe a highlighter, and brow gel, mascara, black liquid liner. For lips, I try to keep it to 2-3 lipsticks and a gloss or balm. All of the makeup and necessary brushes (pick multi-taskers that you can dust off) need to fit in a small makeup bag, so that helps add constraints, as I also nest a ziplock baggie with a toothbrush, floss, and razor into the bag. Limit yourself to your (hopefully small!) makeup bag, rather than picking products first - this is something Kar Yi suggests, as well.

Makeup summary:
- brow gel, mascara, eyeliner
- concealer (I'm going to experiment with a foundation stick soon, instead)
- 1 eyeshadow palette (that complements lipsticks - e.g., don't take a cool palette + warm lip shades, unless that's your usual thing, then go for it.)
- one blush. I bring a powder or a cream as I always use a brush with blush, no matter the formulation (hate using my fingers); space in the liquids bag is tight, so I pick powder/cream over liquid. If you use your fingers, take a cream and skip the brush.
- 2-3 lipsticks; one glam, one MLBB, maybe one wild card (see photo above)
- 1 gloss or balm, or none
- 2-3 eye brushes, blush brush, concealer brush, spoolie, eyelash curler

On the plane, I usually just wear whatever skincare base and makeup I'd wear on the daily - concealer, blush, some eye makeup, lip gloss or balm. No foundation. For shorter flights, I wear contacts; for longer or overnight ones, I wear glasses instead (but I always carry both, and an extra pair of contacts).  I don't worry too much about my face during the flight - far more tedious to fuss with masks and goop and washing hands and whatever.

Traveling is fun and I like to focus on the sights and experiences, but I also don't want to suffer for it afterward by skipping all of my usual reliable products. I do try to test anything before taking it, so I know exactly how that lipstick looks on me and what to pair it with, and I 'm not surprised with any skincare side effects.

What are your skincare/makeup travel picks? Do you go for travel sizes, or just pack everything into a checked bag? Any travel plans for the near future?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Traveling Light for Weekend Getaways: Part I

[No affiliate links. Graphics and text were done with the Aillis app.]

I wouldn't say I'm a seasoned travel veteran, but over the past decade, I've done a decent amount of light traveling - the kind that requires, well, traveling light. For a domestic trip lasting less than a week, I take just a carry-on and a work tote, because it's cheaper (no bag fee) and easier - I check in for my flight online, so at the airport I can head straight to security; after deplaning at my destination, I don't have to wait for a checked bag to come spiraling down the carousel, or push through hordes of people to get it. Of course, this is more feasible in warmer months when you don't need tons of layers and coats. And the downside is that it does restrict the number of liquids you can take on board (skincare! makeup!), but we'll get to that in Part II.
This is an example of a travel outfit + all luggage: two carry-on tote bags. Shoes: TOMS Majorca Booties (mentioned further below).

Lately, my carry-on of choice has been this: a nylon Longchamp Medium Le Pliage in the Handheld style. It is light, zips and snaps closed, has short handles that makes it easy to carry in conjunction with a "small personal item" (a work tote), fits in any plane overhead bin or under the seat in front of me, if need be, next to my work tote. I'm not a fan of wheelie bags because they can get heavy (remember, you have to lift it overhead to get it in the bin), and also, I walk fast and weave through spaces when I have to, and people tend not to appreciate it when you run over their toes with wheeled bags. Astounding, I know.

I put everything in the Le Pliage except for my zipped top bag of liquids - that goes in my work tote for easy access at the security checkpoint. Clothes are rolled up, not folded, and I put underwear in a small, soft pouch so that they stay together. Any jewelry I take goes in a smaller pouch, which also fits into the underwear pouch, to minimize the number of small things floating around in my bag. I'd like to upgrade to trendy, matching pouches some day, but at the moment, I just make do. I usually pack thin, lightweight mix and match separates or dresses, pjs, and a swimsuit if necessary.
Sorry there are so many references to panties on my blog, ha! Keeping it real.

For plane day, usually I'll wear jeans and the biggest shoes like my TOMS Majorca Booties (bulky - both are easier to wear than to pack, and comfortable enough). The TOMS are dressy enough for most occasions I have while traveling, and I like the sound the wedge heels make as I power walk through airports. I stuff a pair of flats (below) into my Longchamp tote, as well as a small crossbody, like the Kate Spade Tenley, for use at my destination.
The flats I like to stuff in my Le Pliage.
I also wear any jacket/cardigan I plan on having for the trip, since it's cold on the plane.
My "holy crap 4 AM is early" travel selfie.

The "small, personal item" I take is usually my Cole Haan Village Tech work tote. The downside is that it doesn't have a main compartment zipper, so anything important goes in the smaller zipped or latched pockets, but it does fit upright under most airplane seats, so there isn't a huge risk of things falling out. It also has a secure laptop slot, which accommodates my 11-inch Macbook Air. And it doesn't have a flap opening, which makes it easier to open at security, and to access in the cramped seating space on the plane. I keep the liquids bag into this tote, so that I can pull it out readily at security instead of fussing with the zipped Longchamp. After security, I can move it to my Longchamp, or just leave it as is, depending on how much space I have in either bag. The other things that go in here are my phone, wallet, charger, Kindle, laptop, earphones, and any work that I want to do on the plane. Plus snacks (you know me), and a bottle of water I buy after going through security.

And there we have it. I tried to keep it short, but it got away from me. Like I said, I'm not an expert, but I like to travel light and keep things convenient. Part II will follow - the skincare/makeup edit, and how I fit everything into the one allotted plastic quart-sized bag for carry-ons.

What are your travel tips? Are you a light packer, or do you try to cover any possible outcome? What are your favorite travel totes and carry-on bags?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Sessions: II

[No affiliate links.]

(What's a Sunday Session?)


On repeat:
The Civil Wars: Barton Hollow. I love this album. The above video is for "Dance Me to the End of Love", a Leonard Cohen cover (you should listen to the original, too) on the album. I'm still sad that they broke up. This album is amazing - poetic and romantic, but infused with a very unique sound. Plus, I'm a sucker for male-female duos. The combination and complement of voices is beautiful.

Syfy's Warehouse 13. It's a little cheesy at times, but I have a soft spot for these blends of technology with historical fiction and mythology - fantastical items of lore, infused with power and all of that. I'm midway through the second season, and it's easy to watch and kind of fun. Plus, there are gems of witty dialogue here and there, and Claudia is ON POINT, GIRL. Also, her hair. I have hair envy.

Map of Korea. [source]
Korea. We leave soon! I'm so excited. My parents have been there for a few years for work, so we'll be staying with them. I'll be happy to see them, and to EAT ALL THE THINGS. I want to have at least a little list of activities and sights, though, even though it sounds like my mom has already packed our schedule very tightly, ha. I found a pretty decent site in English (I can read Korean, but I don't understand a ton of it, so it's easier for me to search in English) that has an overview, but I'll take any suggestions! My parents are near Seoul, and I've had to familiarize myself with the cities and provinces so I can estimate distances and times. I've been to Korea a few times in the past, traveling with my mum, but this will be S.'s first time. My mom is so excited to show him her culture and's ridiculously cute.

Neil Gaiman: The Graveyard Book. I know Gaiman is really popular, but the only book I've liked is The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I haven't been able to get into very many of his other books, but I'm reading this one right now - it's a children's book - and it's pretty engaging. I've got a few more books (by other authors) on my Kindle, in preparation for long flights. Do you have any book recommendations? Read anything interesting lately? Let me know! I will add it to my ridiculously long "to read" list on Goodreads.

Annnnnnd some of the posts I am working on:
- packing and traveling light for weekend getaways
- StriVectin Instant Revitalizing Mask (PR sample)
- Scents of the Week, Serge Lutens edition
- perfume - full bottles snapshot & quick reviews
- a fitness post
- A skincare roundup (ok, this may take me another few months - just being honest here, ha.)

How's your Sunday going? Any plans for the week?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Recent Repurchases - August 2015

[Items were purchased by me.]

I have talked about most of these before, but I figured I'd throw up a post to highlight them again, because it's always helpful for me when bloggers talk about the products they rely on. This is a "staples" edition - no fancy lipsticks or frills, but products I always have on hand as part of my daily routine.

First up - L'Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper in Medium/Dark and L'Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Midnight Black. I liked the original Voluminous Butterfly a lot - it's a fiber mascara! I went through a tube and decided to try the Midnight Black, not because the original wasn't dark enough (it is), but...just for variety. This one is also good, though I can't say it's Whatever, they're each usually < $10 and both need to be replaced pretty often, so I'm really happy to have found drugstore staples for mascara and brows.

I bought two more eye makeup staples - NARS Smudge Proof Eye Shadow Base and Smashbox Limitless Liquid Liner in Black (not shown - had to pick it up in Boston and chucked packaging). I stopped using eye primer when I lived in dry WA (unless I really wanted colors to shine or something like that), but here in high humidity, I need it again. So I used up the rest of the tube I had on hand (for aforementioned "emergencies," ha) and just bought another. I like that you can still blend shadows over it, unlike with UDPP - this is probably my third tube of NARS.

I think this is my third Smashbox pen, as well - it's my favorite black liner, and it's waterproof. As the day wears on, some of it starts to fade, but I rarely end up with smudging. Thumbs up. I keep thinking I should try a new one, but I use black liquid liner every day, and there's really no room for bunk in the routine.

For skincare, I bought more cleanser (boring), and Shiseido Ibuki Eye Correcting Cream, which is a bit of a sleeper hit with me. At first, I was indifferent to it, but over time I realized it actually does a great job of keeping the under eye area moisturized, without being greasy or oily. It layers really well under concealer (I use MAC Pro-Longwear under eyes), doesn't cause my eye makeup to smudge, and has a bit of a pearlized sheen that's brightening without being obvious or shimmery or metallic. The nice thing about having a blog is that you can see some of your older photos and compare them to new ones, and use that as a marker for which skincare products have a visible effect. I use a different eye cream at night (Ole Henriksen), but this is my daytime eye cream, for sure.

Ta-da! The end. Next on the repurchase list is concealers - I'm almost out of my NARS creamy concealer and - shock and awe - I think I'm nearing the end of my MAC Pro-longwear, too. What's on your repurchase list? Do you like having old favorites, or do you prefer to try new things all the time?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sunday Sessions: I

[No affiliate links.]

I miss doing casual Thursday posts, so I thought I'd do a similar kind of thing again - not every weekend, but here and there, to share some of my ongoing interests (beauty and non-beauty).


listening to:
Clairity: DNA. Like many others, S. and I are running our free trial of Apple Music right now - we have pretty diverse tastes and like to listen to a lot of different artists, so we've always had some sort of music subscription. iTunes seems to have been nerfed (ah, my gaming days), but I'm still finding great artists, like Clairity. This EP is too short. Reminds me of Frou Frou and Sia (and I guess Katy Perry, but I'm only familiar with what gets played on the radio), with lots of amazing bass. Upbeat - a fun summer jam as I'm driving.

Bourbon Empire, by Reid Mitenbuler. I read more nonfiction now than I did growing up, probably because I'm no longer in school and have room for more information nowadays. This book describes the development of bourbon in parallel with other moments in American history. It's pretty interesting and easy to get into. Of course, it helps that I have an interest in bourbon, ha.

Dior Nude Cosmpolite Illuminating Face Powder. I blame Paris. It looks gorgeous, and lately I've wanted a really subtle highlighter - my current powder has a more metallic finish, which is lovely, but sometimes I want something softer. In the US, it appears that this is only available on Dior's website - it's $45.

waiting for:
I ordered a Kate Spade Tenley crossbody bag (in guava, on sale at Lord and Taylor and free shipping at $99, plus 3% at ebates) for travel - it's nice to have a less structured, soft leather crossbody that I can stuff into my Longchamp weekend travel bag or suitcase without taking up a lot of space; I think it will be a good size for carrying necessities (keys, phone, card case/small wallet, passport, gum, lipstick). Plus, the color is so cheerful.

indulging in:
Maine Root Blueberry Soda. I don't drink soda that often, but I like a treat every once in a while, and I love all things blueberry. This one is good. It's a bit sweeter than I'd like, but still delicious.

Plans for today include breakfast out with friends, a stop at Nordstrom to return a pair of shoes that didn't fit (a rare miss in my online shopping expeditions), and then some well-deserved relaxing and reading. Next weekend I'll be in Boston with S.! Looking forward to that. And then we're traveling to Korea at the beginning of September, which I am ridiculously excited about. We'll stay with my parents and EAT ALL THE THINGS. We're also trying to plan a trip for next summer...maybe someplace tropical.

What's on your plate at the moment? Tried anything new, have any recommendations? Any favorite craft sodas that I should try? Making travel plans? Let me know!