Holiday Gift Guide for the Traveler

Today’s gift guide is a roundup with ideas for those who travel frequently or for the girl on the go. Even though over a year has passed since our Europe trip, I’ve still been dreaming of traveling and hope to do more of it in the near future. There is so much to see in the world and although I haven’t been able to travel much in past years I’ve enjoyed the few trips I’ve been on and it makes me really happy when I get emails from some of you about my travel posts. I’m really touched that many of you are so supportive when I incorporate new and different content on this blog. A quick note that I will be traveling to Florida later this month – we’re going to be visiting both Tampa and Miami and parts in between. If you have any recommendations on what to see in a week’s time let me know in the comments!

  1. Truffle Clarity Mini and Card Case Duo ($55) comes in four color options with a mini clutch and card case, I use these clear pouches on a regular basis, for those who want options, you can buy just the clear pouch individually and there are other sizes and colors you can pick from in the Small and Large
  2. Happy Plugs In-Ear Headphones ($34.99) the ones shown are white marble but they also come in other colors
  3. Rib Knit Scarf ($39) you can’t go wrong with a classic scarf, I usually buy the Tissue Weight Cashmere and Wool ($99) blend every year for a nice lightweight wrap, but for those who need something warmer the rib knit one is very cozy
  4. Away Gift Set ($225 and up) is a cute way to gift one of the Away Suit Cases, it’s basically a gift card packaged in a mini case with travel-sized Aesop products
  5. Away Carry On Luggage ($225) now comes in two new colors Snow and Asphalt, since reviewing their carry-on over the summer in this post, they’ve launched a Bigger Carry-On Size ($245) as well, I haven’t tried it but for me the regular Carry-On Size is just perfect
  6. Ugg Australia Travel Set ($88) has a cozy blanket and sleep eye mask in a gift set, it comes in three colors
  7. Mophie Powerstation ($39.99) is something I’ve used for years, I have the black one (shown here) and it’s lasted years for me, I always carry one with me even on day or weekend trips
  8. Tom Ford Lips and Boys ($36 each) are the cutest mini lipsticks ever, all 25 new shades swatched in this post, they’re perfect for travel because the mini size barely takes up any space
  9. Byredo Hand Cream ($35) is the ultimate splurge for hand creams, I’ve purchased two in the past and the scent is pretty good for a hand cream, if you want something a bit more affordable but just as good I recommend the Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve ($15) which also now comes in three scents Coriander, Grapefruit and Lavender ($15 each), Molton Brown also has good ones to gift away, having a good one on hand is a travel must
  10. Oribe Styling Kit x Birchbox ($35) has five minis of their sprays, review of this one here
  11. Laura Mercier Brush it On Luxe Collection Travel Brush Set ($98) has six travel-sized brushes in a roll case, their travel brushes are always well made, I’ve accumulated quite a few over the years
  12. Slip Silk Eye Mask ($45) is on my own wishlist as I have one of the Slip Silk Pillow Cases and really like it
  13. Fleur’t Night Night Eyelash Eye Mask ($23) with the eyelashes is just too cute
  14. Sephora Luxe Combo Travel Brush ($15) is a great travel hair brush it also comes in a Gold Color for holiday
  15. Ouai to Travel Set ($32) has three travel-sized hair products in a white zip case
  16. Drybar Baby Buttercup Dryer ($135) is a compact but powerful travel hair dryer, on numerous trips I’ve debated whether or not to take a dryer with me, I’m the type who needs their own hair dryer, ones in hotels simply just don’t work the same for me, review on this one soon, if you’re into sets for holiday it also comes in the Let it Blow! Set for the same price as the individual dryer
  17. Chanel Les Minis de Chanel ($125) is the first Chanel brush set I’ve bought, I love their mini sets that they launch each year but in previous seasons there has been at least 1 or 2 brushes in the sets that I didn’t think I’d use so I passed, this year has ones I would actually use, I haven’t tried it yet but will be bringing it with me on my upcoming trip
  18. Anya Hindmarch In-Flight Case ($330) is one of the most expensive beauty items I’ve splurged on but it’s great for travel to keep everything beauty related in one place, it was featured here and here, if you don’t need something compact the Bobbi Brown Beauty Case is also a great one for travel

Do you have any travel favorites or must haves? I’m going to be busy packing this weekend so I won’t have new posts up Saturday or Sunday, but stay tuned for a new post to go live on Monday 🙂

Have a great weekend!

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Luxury Candles for Holiday

I have a gift guide roundup including some of my favorite candles for the home this holiday. I love those warm and cozy feel good scents this time of year. Pine and spice scents are always fun to give the ultimate Christmas kind of vibe, but if you’re not into those kinds of scents there are still lots of other options that are great for holiday. If  you don’t want your house to smell like a pine tree or pumpkin, but still want something for your home or for a gift, I’ve rounded up alternatives for you.

The cutest luxury set this year is the Jo Malone Christmas Miniature Candle Collection ($110 for 5 candles, 1.2 oz each). This is definitely quite the splurge but comes packaged in a beautiful box that looks like a small tent box. The throw on these is phenomenal even though they are small. It contains Sweet Almond and Macaroon, Green Tomato Leaf, Frosted Cherry and Clove, Pomegranate Noir, Peony and Blush Suede.

Jo Malone Christmas Miniature Candle Collection

Byredo carries some of the most expensive candles on the luxury beauty market. I’ve splurged on a few here and there and love them, but the price is something that holds me back from trying them all (otherwise I would). If you’re shopping for someone who already has almost everything Byredo have some unique options that I think are great.

This year they’ve introduced three candles in a gorgeous color glass version at $85 each. Fleur FantĂ´me and Cotton Poplin are my favorites for their soft relaxing feel and I ordered those immediately to add some color and life to our home. Bibliothèque is also available in a green tinted version (this one smells like a sweeter version of Bal D’Afrique perfume). Another thing they’ve brought back this year are minis! (I reviewed three a year ago here.) The minis run at $35 each and right now they have them in Fleur FantĂ´me, Bohemia, Cotton Poplin, Tree House and Bibliothèque. For those new to the brand, you can find Byredo at Neiman Marcus, Barneys’s New York and Net-A-Porter.

The white frosted ones from last year are also still available, Figue Glacée ($95) is my favorite as I love fig scents and this one has red currant, whipped vanilla cream, violet, bamboo and sandalwood mixed in. The other two Prune Glacée and Cassis Glacée are both very sweet.

Byredo Candles Holiday 2016 and Minis

The most elegant holiday scent is Antica Farmacista Black Label Champagne Collection. I love this line so much I’ll have a dedicated post on my picks. I ordered the Full Size Candle and it’s such a beautiful sparkling sweet citrus. It has Satsuma citrus, floral notes of muguet to soften the citrus, passionfruit, sugared blackcurrant and apricot. The candle comes with a box of matches in the lid. Below is also shown the Travel Candle, Room Spray and one of the minis in the Diffuser Trio.

Antica Farmacista Champagne Black Label

Lumira continues to be a favorite candle line. I’m beyond obsessed with their Tahitian Coconut candle. For holiday they still have the Holiday Trio Set which has their best sellers:

  • Tuscan Fig has notes of fig leaves, fig tree, blackcurrant, cedarwood, iris and musk
  • Cuban Tobacco is one my husband loves and has in his office, it has tangerine, cardamom, clove bud, mahogany, patchouli, musk, vanilla, tobacco and floral notes
  • Persian Rose is the best rose candle I’ve burned because it’s not powdery or dated, it has Top notes of sparkling mandarin, bergamot zest, sweet orange, Middle notes of budding Persian rose, geranium essence, Base notes of soft musk, patchouli, dark amber

Lumira Holiday Trio Minis

Le Labo x Violet Grey have done a collaboration to launch a special exclusive of the Santal 26 Candle which comes in a beautiful black glass jar instead of the clear ones. The scent is still the same as the clear one, both are named Santal which has notes including amber, vanilla, cedar, musk and sandalwood. It has an earthy almost raw feel. Another great sandalwood home scent is the Molton Brown Coco and Sandalwood line. I own this scent in every option including the hand cream, shower gel, room spray and body lotion. The candle gives all kinds of cozy warm vibes. You can find the candle in a Single Wick ($49) version or Three Wick ($74) version.

Le Labo Violet Grey Santal and Molton Brown Coco Sandalwood Candles

Diptyque is always fun during the holiday. I think their pine scent is the best one that comes out each year. This year’s special edition candles come in a Holiday Candle Trio ($100) with minis that has Sparkling Incense, Delicious Spices and Festive Fir Tree. My favorite is the blue one Sparking Incense which has cloves, vanilla and incense. Quite a few of you asked for other recommendations as some mentioned you were disappointed in this year’s holiday options. Noisetier ($32 to $62) is hazelnut which is a warm and sweet scent but it’s not overly sweet. It has a mix of fruity and woody in it as well making it a delicious option. Vanille ($32 to $62) is another option, it’s a different kind of smoky vanilla. I didn’t really love it at first, it’s one that took me a while to get used to, but it’s a cozy option. To date the best vanilla scent is Henri Bendel’s Vanilla Bean – it’s not too sweet which is my biggest issue with most vanilla based candles.

Diptyque Holiday 2016

One last roundup: Sheepskin Rug, Chenille Throw, Pillows found at Pottery Barn

Best Holiday Candles for Home

Hope you enjoyed this roundup of some of my favorites! If I had to pick just three to burn the rest of the month, my top picks would be Antica Farmacista Champagne Black Label, Molton Brown Coco and Sandalwood and Diptyque Noisetier.

Do you have any favorite holiday scents for the home? Let me know in the comments!

Press samples included from Lumira, Molton Brown and Antica Farmacista.

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Diorskin Air Flash

I’ve been a long-time fan of the Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation and am excited to team up with Dior Beauty to re-visit it this month. With the holiday season in full swing finding base makeup that covers the face entirely, photographs well with a flash, lasts a long time and still looks natural can be a challenge. I have normal to combination skin and even when I set my base with a good powder I usually find I need a quick touch up at least 2 times a day. I like a base that has visible coverage but sometimes fuller coverage foundations can feel thick or look flat. Formulas have improved across brands over the years with better lasting power, lighter textures and unique glowy finishes, but the Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation is hands down among the best of bases that hits all the marks on what I want: long lasting, photographs well with flash, covers the face entirely but looks natural.

Diorskin Air Flash

The Airflash comes in an aerosol spray can and dispenses an ultra fine even layer of foundation in a mist. It gives the skin an airbrushed finish. Simply shake it for a few seconds, hold about 6 inches from the face and spray from the top down in a zig-zag motion. There can be a bit of a learning curve to figure out exactly how far to hold it from your face when you spray it – I sometimes wear a band around my hairline to keep the hair back and out of the way. After spraying I’ve blend a bit with a sponge or a brush. You can also add more on areas by spraying the product directly on the brush and patting on the face. Any tool will work but I just discovered the Backstage Buffing Brush #18 and it has the perfect density and angled shape to blend out foundation to a flawless streak-free smooth finish. For color matching, in the past I’ve been a match to the shade 300 Medium Beige, but right now I’m a better match to 201 Linen.

Diorskin Air FlashDiorskin Air Flash

Below is a closer look at the spray foundation with the Backstage Buffing Brush #18. It’s the perfect size for smoothing across the face. So many foundation buffing brushes are on the smaller side, this one has a larger head which makes it easier to swipe in larger motions.

Diorskin Airflash and Buffing Brush 18

Swatches below with the Airflash Spray Foundation in 201 (color I’m wearing in photos) and 300. Over the past few months I’ve also been using the Capture Totale Dreamskin Cushion and mix 020 and 030 – I initially thought it was a foundation but was told by a few reps that it’s actually part of their skincare line and can be used as a primer or just a regular tint. It’s swatched heavily below but the cushion is significantly lighter in coverage and very sheer. Let me know if you want a dedicated review on the cushions.

Diorskin Airflash vs Dreamskin Cushion Swatches

Below on the left is me wearing just the Airflash Foundation in 201 and a bit of the Dior Lip Glow in Lilac to prep the lips, photographed without flash. For me the Airflash has enough coverage to cover dark under eye circles most of the time. There are some days where I do need extra coverage so I’ll layer on something under the eyes or around the nose. Below you can see that with just the foundation everything looks like it’s covered. Everything as in my acne scars on the chin and freckles and sunspots on my cheeks aren’t visible.

On the right side is the base with some color added. This photograph is taken with a flash to show that the foundation doesn’t give a white glare or cast that you see with some other foundations. This makes it a great one to wear for holiday gatherings, dinners or parties. You won’t have to worry about getting holiday photos with your face looking garishly white in contrast to your neck or body.

Diorskin Airflash 201 Linen

Makeup worn is with a light hand and everything blended, products shown below as well. What I’m wearing:

Dior Beauty Holiday Glow Natural Beauty Look

Right now Dior.com has a special online promo where you can get a mini kabuki brush with any Airflash foundation purchase. The packaging is always exquisite – if you’re looking for a place that will wrap and package everything perfectly, Dior has it all covered.

Dior Holiday Packaging and Airflash GWP

Diorskin Air Flash

Bottom line I think the Diorskin Airflash is a classic. In the past few weeks I tried it without any setting powder – we’ve been having dry weather and air here (even with the rain) so my skin hasn’t been as oily as normal. I almost always set with a powder but the Airflash lasted an impressive amount of time without it. It’s one I’ll be wearing all holiday long because it performs well and truly holds up all day long. It gets extra points from me for covering my skin entirely while still looking natural.

Have you tried the Diorskin Airflash? What color do you use? If not what’s your go-to base for holiday photographs or gatherings? You can find the Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation for $62 at Dior.com.

This post was sponsored by Dior. As always all opinions my own.

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Tom Ford Lips and Boys The Beauty Look Book

Tom Ford just launched 25 new shades and 25 repromoted colors of their clutch-sized Lips and Boys Lipsticks ($36 each for 0.07 oz/ 2.07 mL). As the ultimate lipstick junkie I was beyond thrilled when a press box arrived at my door containing all 25 new shades in a drop-dead gorgeous black lacquer box. I’m so excited to be able to share swatches of the new colors with you today. This year Tom Ford Beauty added a new soft velvety matte finish formula for the Lips and Boys and they do not disappoint. For those new to Tom Ford lip colors this is a great way to start with the line as the full-sized lip colors are $50+ each. This is the third year that that they’ve launched the lips and boys minis and I think it’s one of the most fun launches during the holiday season. I’m still waiting for them to launch one named Andrew for my husband, but for now there are lots of other shades to play with.

Tom Ford Lips Boys 2016

I’ve been a huge fan of Tom Ford lip colors since the initial launch. My first one was Pink Dusk as it was the only wearable neutral in the original lineup for me and to this day it remains one of the best neutral pinks. The lipsticks are expensive but I find the textures to be excellent and usually find at least several colors I fall in love with from each seasonal launch regardless of formula (sheer, ultra rich, shine, foiled, etc.) The $50+ price tag is still not something I am happy about but I still buy colors with each launch and have been happy with most of my purchases. Formulas are always good, but when I buy sight unseen sometimes colors just don’t work for me as I hoped. Below I’ve swatched and photographed the new Lips and Boys in the order they came presented in the press box. For skintone reference I’m wearing the Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation Concealer in Bisque with Laura Mercier Candleglow Setting Powder #2 on top. As always colors are all swatched on bare lips. If you think you see a darker line around the outer edges of some shades – it’s just my natural lip color showing through. I have pigmented lips. Row 1 includes:

  • Douglas (shimmer) is a medium baby pink shimmer
  • Bradley (satin) is a peachy flesh nude with a sheen
  • Alexander (satin) is a pale nude pink, note that Tom Ford launched another shade called Alexander in 2014, this year’s is different
  • Ashton (satin) is a medium mauve plum rose
  • Thomas (matte) is a cool-toned matte pink rose

Tom Ford Lips and Boys 2016 The Beauty Look Book swatches Tom Ford Lips and Boys 2016 The Beauty Look Book swatches tom-ford-lips-boys-2016-swatches-1-lips

Row two includes:

  • Christopher (matte) is a matte mauve brown
  • Ben (matte) is a matte deep brown red
  • Evan (matte) is a matte peach nude, but on my pigmented lips it pulls mauvey, if you have regular colored lips this will probably be more true to what you see in the tube
  • Dominic (matte) is a cool toned blue red matte
  • Travis (shimmer) is a brown shimmer, this one has a slightly sheer finish and slightly patchy on me

Tom Ford Lips and Boys 2016Tom Ford Lips and Boys 2016 Christopher, Ben, Evan, Dominic, TravisTom Ford Lips and Boys 2016 Christopher, Ben, Evan, Dominic, Travis

Row 3 has:

  • Graham (shimmer) is a semi-sheer golden shimmer, it has a transparent finish so my natural lip color shows through
  • Aaron (shimmer) is a warm coppery brown shimmer
  • Snowdon (shimmer) is a peachy pink rose gold shimmer
  • Dylan (matte) is a bright matte warm orange red
  • Jack (satin) is a deep plum, note there was a previous color called Jack from 2014 which was more purple, this year’s is more mauve plum

Tom Ford Lips and Boys Graham, Aaron, Snowdon, Dylan and JackTom Ford Lips and Boys Graham, Aaron, Snowdon, Dylan and JackTom Ford Lips and Boys Graham, Aaron, Snowdon, Dylan and Jack

Row 4 colors include:

  • Anderson (matte) is a matte neutral pink, it pulls cool-toned on my complexion
  • Jared (matte) is a hot fuchsia pink
  • Logan (shimmer) is a shimmering iridescent fuchsia
  • Cristiano (matte) is a bright orange matte
  • Mitchell (satin) is a muted neutral plum

Tom Ford Lips and Boys Anderson, Jared, Logan, Cristiano, Mitchell Tom Ford Lips and Boys Anderson, Jared, Logan, Cristiano, Mitchell Tom Ford Lips and Boys Anderson, Jared, Logan, Cristiano, Mitchell

Row 5 colors are plums:

  • Nicholas (matte)
  • Ryan (shimmer)
  • Inigo (shimmer)
  • Jon (shimmer)
  • Elliot (shimmer)

Tom Ford Lips and Boys Nicholas, Ryan, Inigo, Jon and Elliot Tom Ford Lips and Boys Nicholas, Ryan, Inigo, Jon and Elliot Tom Ford Lips and Boys Nicholas, Ryan, Inigo, Jon and Elliot

All side by side:

Tom Ford Lips Boys 2016 The Beauty Look BookTom Ford Lips Boys 2016 New Shades Beauty Look Book

Tom Ford Lips Boys 2016

It’s really hard to narrow down my favorites because there are so many amazing colors. Out of the entire collection there are only two that I’m not crazy about. Alexander 2016 is too pale for me but I have a hard time pulling off nudes. If you are like me in coloring but want a good Tom Ford nude that won’t wash you out, check out Revolve Around Me Ultra Lip Color. Travis also came off a bit patchy but it can be smoothed out if layered on the lips a bit more. Other than those two, all the others performed really well in terms of pigment and texture. The shimmers this year have a smooth finish in the shimmer, no chunky sparkles or frost. If I could only pick six of the new colors, I would say my favorites include Elliot, Snowdon, Mitchell, Evan, Douglas and Bradley.

To recap, new shades include: Alexander, Bradley, Jack, Ashton, Mitchell, Graham, Douglas, Snowdon, Aaron, Travis, Ryan, Inigo, Jon, Logan, Elliot, Anderson, Thomas, Jared, Cristiano, Dylan, Dominic, Evan, Nicolas, Ben and Christopher.

Repromoted colors include: Julian, Collin, Cary, Ian, Addison, Flynn, James, Richard, Patrick, Michael, Justin, Giacomo, Rafael, Luciano, Leonardo, Jake, Austin, Eric, Hiro, Roberto, Alejandro, Tony, Joaquin, Drake and Alex. I have my picks from the past two years swatched from 2014 here and 2015 here.

The Tom Ford Lips and Boys are available now at Sephora, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Net-A-Porter and all other Tom Ford Beauty counters.

Many thanks to the Tom Ford Beauty team for making my lipstick dreams come true. Lips and Boys provided courtesy for review.

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Best Cyber Monday Beauty Deals 2016

Happy Cyber Monday! Here’s a roundup for the deals, sales and codes for beauty. Shown above includes the Birchbox x Oribe Styling Kit (you can receive 10% off, code listed below), Truffle mini clarity clutches, Molton Brown Coco and Sandalwood Hand Cream (color on the nails is not on sale, but for curious minds it’s Chanel Rouge Noir). If you find any other good ones let me know in the comments!

Earlier today I finally finished editing all photos and swatches for the 25 new shades of Tom Ford Lips and Boys. I know many of you have been asking and I took a few days off to enjoy with friends in town and family, so thanks for your patience! Post will go live first thing Tuesday morning 🙂

In case you’re still not seeing updates right away on the home page, follow me on Bloglovin, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter for direct post links. Keeping fingers crossed issues can be fixed soon.