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Boutique New York Travel

Three Days in New York – My Packing List, Beauty Shopping Map and Haul

May 9, 2017

Byredo Store Wooster St Soho NYC | The Beauty Look Book

I’m excited to share my packing list, shopping map and beauty haul for NYC! As mentioned in my previous post I was in NYC for 3 full days. 1 day was for a conference, I had 1 full day of exploring and meetings with my friend Cafe Makeup, and then the following day I had until around 12:30 before I had to head to the airport to catch my flight. On my third day I decided to go to Soho for a quick stop at Away in the morning but most stores did not open until 11:00 AM so my shopping/browsing time was a bit limited. Next time I go to New York I will be staying in Soho – the area is just so charming and I could walk around for hours!

First a look at what I packed. The weather was mild – by Florida standards it was cold, but in comparison to the winter in San Diego it was very similar. I packed three tops, two pairs of jeans, three jackets and then also had the clothes I wore to NY which included a tank, jeans and a cotton cardigan sweater. Being a high maintenance hair girl of course I packed my hair dryer and flat iron. Since I had just come from a quick trip to Dallas I used a lot of the same beauty products and skincare. In hindsight since I only had one day in between trips I could have flown straight to New York but I was getting homesick and really wanted to see the hubby and fur babies.

Luggage, totes and accessories packed included a Louis Vuitton Neverful MM, Away Bigger Carry On (c/o – click this referral link save $20 on your first order), Truffle Mini Clarity Clutches (navy one c/o) , Glossier Pouch, Anya Hindmarch Inflight Case, Tatcha Travel Bag (discontinued) and a Tumi Just In Case Tote. The Tumi actually folds up into a flat compact square – I stuffed it for the photo so you could see the size. I’ve had this for years (and a few older variations) – they’re great to bring with you just in case you need an extra bag to bring home. For this trip I did check my luggage and many of you have asked how the Away luggage holds up. Between Dallas and NYC I checked it 3 times and it held up really well. No deep scratches and only surface scuffs and dark marks. I asked the reps at the store how to remove them and they recommended warm water and a washcloth or a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I did a little demo video on my Instagram stories which you should be able to see until around 6:00 PM EST. The magic eraser method really does work! Of course anything you check will get marks and eventually dents.

Travel NYC Packing List | The Beauty Look Book

What I packed here ended up being similar to my Dallas trip, but slightly more edited. I wanted to make room in my luggage to bring home some things and hauls. Most everything fit inside the Away Bigger Carry On (you can use this referral link to save $20 off your first order).

Away Bigger Carry On Packed | The Beauty Look Book

Away Bigger Carry On Packing List via The Beauty Look Book

Clothing pack list:

  • Short Trench from J.Crew (old style, current classic version here)
  • Leather jacket by Joie (old style, similar here)
  • Black woven jacket from Banana Republic (from several years ago)
  • Black raw hem denim by Paige
  • Classic skinny jeans denim by Frame
  • Flats by Chloe
  • Chambray button down by Joie
  • Stripe tank from Rag and Bone
  • Cashmere sweater from Club Monaco (old style)

Clothing Pack List for NYC | The Beauty Look Book

Makeup packing list:

NYC Makeup Packing List for 3 Days | The Beauty Look Book

Skincare and haircare packing. I hoard my minis from GWPs as much as I can. Things here that you can buy individually:

NYC Skincare Packing List for 3 Days | The Beauty Look Book

Before I met up with Amy we discussed where we wanted to go shopping. I told her I was open to anything she wanted to see as she was taking the train up to see me for the day. I shared a map I had made last year (minus the tourist spots). I’ve done this for almost every trip I’ve gone on – I map out EVERYTHING from coffee shops, photo spots, restaurants, breakfast places, shops etc. This is an edited version with just beauty as my full maps get very cluttered. Thanks to Amy for asking me to publish this. She did an amazing one for Paris which I highly recommend. We didn’t get to everything on the map – in the course of one day we made it to around 6 places including lunch spots. We took our time, on our priority list was Creed and Bergdorfs and then we said we’d just take the day as it came. The map should be clickable/interactive – I’m not sure how it will look or work on mobile though.

This is what I ended up hauling, mainly beauty this trip. First a look inside Bergdorf Goodman:

Bergdorf Goodman Beauty Shopping | The Beauty Look Book

Next stop was Barneys New York – how cool is their Mask Bar?!

Barneys New York Mask Bar | The Beauty Look Book

From Barneys New York I bought two Sheet Masks from Starskin in the Diamond Mask and Close Up options, Cremorlab Silk Pearl, and the Peach and Lily Sheet Mask Set. From Bergdorf Goodman I bought a couple cushions from Sulwhasoo (I also ordered the third option from Nordstrom when I got home). Will be testing and report back soon!

Barneys and Bergdorfs Haul | The Beauty Look Book

At Creed I bought my husband the Original Vetiver Shaving Soap and Bowl – he’s been getting more into skincare and shaving and I thought this might be a nice unique gift for him even though it’s about 3x what he normally spends on a shaving soap. They wrapped everything beautifully and even made a couple fragrance samples for him!

Creed Original Vetiver Shaving Soap and Bowl | The Beauty Look Book

Some late night shopping at the Sephora in Times Square, they have Tom Ford, Natasha Denona and Pat McGrath. On Instastories a couple days ago I mentioned how many beauty insider points I had. I forgot that I had redeemed A LOT for Drybar and Supergoop goodies. I think I asked for all the sunscreen minis they had lol!

Sephora NYC Times Square Tom Ford | The Beauty Look Book

What I hauled from Sephora was more than I intended. I only was going to get the new Dior mascara but what was I thinking, I always leave the store with more than I had planned on buying:

Mega Sephora Haul | The Beauty Look Book

Last but not least a quick stop at Byredo. I had looked for the mint Hand Cream Duo at Barneys but they were sold out so I made a trip to the Byredo store on Wooster and it was very minimalist inside. If you’re looking for this you can find it online at Byredo and also online Neiman Marcus. It was beautiful but very sparse. Online and at counters the travel size perfumes come in pre-made sets. Usually you have to buy a set of 3 with the same scents although they occasionally release mixed discover ones. In the store you can make your own 3 piece or 6 piece set but they don’t have all the scents available. I made my own with 2 Mojave Ghost (I’ve had this on my wishlist for over 2 years, I don’t know why I didn’t just buy it earlier) and 1 Flowerhead. They recommend you only carry them inside the leather cases because the glass is fragile. I’m trying to be extra careful with mine as I have broken a couple.

Byredo Soho Wooster NYC | The Beauty Look Book

Byredo Haul | The Beauty Look Book

This is a shot of what I had with me on my way back home:

Travel NYC Packing List | The Beauty Look Book

Hope you enjoyed Part 2 of my three days in NYC posts! I already can’t wait to go back 🙂 If you have any favorite spots whether it be shops, restaurants, coffee shops, hotels etc please let me know in the comments! I’ll bookmark them for my next trip!

Boutique New York Travel

Springtime Travels – Three Days in NYC

May 8, 2017

NYC Springtime Travels | The Beauty Look Book

Happy Monday lovelies! As promised I have a NYC post for you from my recent trip last month. I was in NYC for three days at the end of April. One day was for a conference and the other two days were for fun, exploration and a few meet-ups. Now that I’m on the East Coast, travel is a lot easier for me. It’s only a 2 hour flight from Tampa to NYC and I could not be happier! This was a short trip and I wish I could have had more time but I packed in as much as I could. This is Part 1 of 2. In this post I will share about where I stayed, what I saw and where I ate. In Part 2 I’ll share my full packing list and also what I hauled.

I flew into JFK and normally would have taken a taxi to the city, however my husband booked me a NY airport limousine service called Carmel Limousine. It was a bit pricier than a taxi but the fare covered tip and tolls and my husband wanted me to try it out. When it comes to travel and transportation I tend to be on the cheap side when traveling alone, my husband on the other hand always wants the best experience – he’s always really thoughtful when he helps me book my flights etc. When I flew in I was a bit worried about how I would find the car and driver. The way this works is you book your car and provide them your flight information and destination. The cars are usually waiting nearby or in the cell phone lot around the time of your arrival. There’s a number to call as soon as you land and they text you within seconds how soon the car will arrive and what model it is. In the window there will be a sign with your last name so you can tell which car is yours. My total wait time from the time I called was less than 5 minutes.

Cars were very clean, air conditioned and the drive was smooth. NYC taxis can be hit or miss with cleanliness and using this service was definitely a nice experience. If I were traveling with another person I think I would definitely use them again. On my way back my husband was going to book it again for me but since I didn’t know where I would be in the city I told him I’d just take a taxi back to the airport.

I couldn’t resist doing an Eva Chen-inspired shot (minus the fruit lol). Neverfull MM tote with a small Truffle Clarity Clutch mini (c/o) to hold all my travel essentials. Flats by Chloe. Jeans by Frame.

NYC Springtime Travels Carmel Limo Service | The Beauty Look Book

I traveled alone this trip so I decided try a smaller hotel. I had planned everything at the last minute and did not realize that the Tribeca Film Festival was happening the same week I was going to be in NY. In the course of a few days almost every hotel I had on my visit list was booked and almost double in price from their normal rates. Luckily I found one that was affordable with good reviews in Times Square in the theater district called RIU Plaza New York Times Square. I booked a King Size room and was thrilled to find that at check-in they gave me a room on the 26th floor (they have 28 floors). True to NYC style the room was very small, but it was clean, modern and functional. I had a pleasant stay – I would definitely stay here again, the location can’t be beat!

RIU Plaza New York Times Square Hotel Review | The Beauty Look Book

RIU Plaza New York Times Square Hotel Review | The Beauty Look Book

RIU Plaza New York Times Square Hotel Review | The Beauty Look Book

RIU Plaza New York Times Square Hotel Review | The Beauty Look Book

During my stay the weather was cloudy with some rain. I had checked the weather beforehand. Since moving to Florida I feel like I’ve been living in shorts and tanks and I knew the rest of the US was most likely not going to be in the high 80s. I packed an umbrella, several sets of layers, a few jackets and one pair of flats. The only thing I would have done differently for packing would have been to also pack some running shoes for easier walking. My flats were comfortable but there was a point where I wanted to walk through Central Park to find all of the cherry blossom trees (it was my first time seeing them in person!). I only made it about 1/2 a mile before I decided my feet and flats would not make the entire 2.5 mile walk in the rain.

Cherry Blossom Trees Spring NYC | The Beauty Look Book

One of the days I spend the entire day attending a conference in Soho. The conference was held by a company called Fohr Card and while I was dying to explore Soho, I was really happy to meet some other bloggers and make a few new friends. I ran into another blogger Kali from In Spades Blog and found out that we were both from San Diego, went to the same college and graduated the same year as me! Such a small world! We grabbed some dinner afterwards at Totto Ramen which I had been dying to try to catch up on life since graduating from business school. It was delicious! A quick snapshot of some other quick eats – on this trip I was on the go most of the day until late evening so relied on places open late. My brother made me promise to try this Indian street food place called Kati Roll and it was pretty close to my hotel so I did. It was also pretty good. One of the nights I grabbed some pizza by the slice near Times Square – I have really high expectations for pizza and even though it had really high ratings on Yelp I thought it was just ok. It hit the spot though – unfortunately I don’t remember the name of it.

NYC Eats - Totto Ramen, Pizza by the slice, Kati Roll

The following day was the highlight of my trip. I met up with long-time blogger friend Amy from Cafe Makeup. We’ve been pen pals for years and I’ve followed her blog for as long as I can remember. We spent the day exploring and shopping and had the best time! A look our stops below. We covered a lot of ground in one day: light breakfast at the Palm Court, a trip to B&H Photo (amazing!), a stop at the Creed Boutique, fun at Bergdorf Goodman, search for By Terry at Barneys New York, lunch and a meet up with Edward Bess, and then another trip back to Bergdorfs because we decided we needed more bronzer in our life.

Palm Court breakfast:

Palm Court NYC with Cafe Makeup

Perfume heaven at Creed:

Creed Boutique Madison Ave NYC

Shopping heaven at Bergdorf Goodman:

Bergdorf Goodman Shopping Heaven | The Beauty Look Book

Excited to see the entire line of Christian Louboutin Beauty in person!

Bergdorf Goodman Louboutin Beaute Counter | The beauty look book

Walking into the beauty level at Barneys New York, can you spot the By Terry counter?

Barneys New York beauty level makeup heaven | The beauty look book

Afternoon dessert with Edward Bess, I look so tan next to him! Thanks Cafe Makeup for the snap 🙂

Edward Bess x The Beauty Look Book selfie time

Beauty playtime with Edward:

Lunch with Edward Bess | The Beauty Look Book

Quick snapshots of Soho, Laduree, Repetto, Byredo:

Soho Springtime NYC | The Beauty Look Book

Soho NYC Byredo | The Beauty Look Book

Had to make a stop at the new Away store in Soho. They will deliver anywhere in New York and often have same day delivery which is genius! For those who know they’ll need an extra bag to take home items with them but don’t want to fly into the city with extra luggage this is perfect! They’ll deliver to your hotel 🙂

Away Travel Store in Soho NYC | The Beauty Look Book

Bryant Park at night:

Bryant Park at Night | The Beauty Look Book

Selfie at my happy place Sephora Times Square, short trench by J.Crew (old style, current Icon Style here), denim by Frame, iPhone case by Gray Malin.

Sephora Times Square NYC | The Beauty look Book

I hope you enjoyed this mini travel diary! I had so much fun in the short time I was there. Have you ever been to NYC for a short trip? What recommendations, tips or advice do you have for quick short trips? Give then amount of time I was there I was happy with what I booked in. I did waste some time by getting lost (I did a lot of walking) but sometimes getting lost takes you some fun unexpected places.

Part 2 to follow tomorrow with my packing list and haul!

Boutique Fragrance New York

Creed + High Camp Gardenias for Mother’s Day

May 1, 2017

Creed x High Camp Gardenias Spring Flower | The Beauty Look Book

For Mother’s Day this year Creed has partnered with High Camp Gardenias to create a special limited-edition gift set available exclusively online at CreedBoutique.com from May 1st to May 10th. High Camp Supply specializes in fresh gardenia vines and blooms which are cut to order in California and then shipped in a beautiful glossy white box. Together both companies have created a memorable gift with a few options depending on how many flowers and perfume you pick. For this collaboration they have the Vine and Bloom Gift Sets which come with a mix of loose gardenia blooms and gardenias on the vine.

  • Creed x High Camp Supply Vine and Bloom Gift Set (25 to 30 flowers) $479 to $549
  • Creed x High Camp Supply Deluxe Vine and Bloom Gift Set (45 to 50 flowers) $539 to $609
  • Available fragrances for purchase to choose from include Love in White, Royal Princess Oud, Spring Flower, Acqua Fiorentina or Fleurs de Gardenia

I was fortunate to be gifted Spring Flower and the Vine and Bloom Gift Set (bottle is the 2.5 fl oz) and as a lover of flowers and perfumes find this to be unique and simply exquisite. The price of the perfume ($350) and gardenias ($129) individually add up to the same price as the set so there’s no price break.

Creed x High Camp Gardenias Spring Flower | The Beauty Look Book

The gardenias arrive in a white glossy cardboard box that’s sturdy. There is a cold pack inside the box to keep everything temperature controlled and fresh while it’s being shipped. The perfume is wrapped with a plastic sleeve so the box is protected from any condensation that occurs while it’s in transit. There are care instructions for how to unbox and care for the flowers. They arrive closed but open up within a few hours with the most exquisite gardenia scent I’ve ever smelled. I love that there is a mix of blooms and vines.

When we moved we didn’t bring all of our dishes with us (we gifted away a lot of things we couldn’t fit in our moving truck). I only had a West Elm round lacquer tray with handles so I tried using it as a bowl by taping the holes. The lacquer won’t hold up water for an extended period of time around the base so we made a quick trip to Crate and Barrel to pick up a Serving Bowl which worked perfectly. For the vines I placed them in a large recycled ceramic Diptyque Candle jar.

Creed x High Camp Gardenias Spring Flower | The Beauty Look Book

After a few hours the blooms fully open up and the fragrance from these flowers literally filled our entire home. Care instructions that come with the box:

Creed x High Camp Gardenias Spring Flower | The Beauty Look Book

Blooms straight out of the box placed into a vase and bowl:

Creed x High Camp Gardenias Spring Flower | The Beauty Look Book

Creed x High Camp Gardenias Spring Flower | The Beauty Look Book

Fully opened blooms after a few hours:

Creed x High Camp Gardenias Spring Flower | The Beauty Look Book

Creed x High Camp Gardenias Spring Flower | The Beauty Look Book

Creed x High Camp Gardenias Spring Flower | The Beauty Look Book

Shown above: Lip color is Chanel Rouge Coco Gloss in 728 Rose Pulpe over Tom Ford Lip Color in Spanish Pink, top by Paige, nail color is Essie Topless and Barefoot

Creed x High Camp Gardenias Spring Flower | The Beauty Look Book

While in NYC last week I was able to meet up with a long-time blogger friend Cafe Makeup and we made a stop at the Creed Boutique on Madison Avenue. I had the best experience there. The staff there is very knowledgable and friendly. The boutique experience can be hit or miss in my experience and this visit was one of the best ones I’ve had. Even though I only own a few pieces from Creed, the brand has special meaning to me, in particular the scent Spring Flower. While I was in college I went on a study abroad program in Oxford for a summer. My room mate Laura (who became my bestie) and I arrived in the UK a week before classes started so we would have some time to explore London. She was on a mission to find Spring Flower and took me all over London looking for a store that carried Creed because at that time it was not available near us. At that time I was not into perfume at all and I completely credit her for sparking my interest in fragrance. Onto a quick peek at the boutique. I bought one gift for my husband which I’ll share in my NYC post later this week. I now have Aventus for Men on my wishlist to give to him as it’s probably the hottest male scent in a bottle I’ve ever smelled.

Creed Boutique Madison Avenue | The Beauty Look Book

Creed Boutique Madison Ave NYC | The Beauty Look Book

Creed Boutique Madison Avenue New York | The Beauty Look Book

Creed Boutique Madison Avenue in NYC | The Beauty Look Book

Hope you enjoyed this roundup and peek into my recent NYC trip. If you can visit the store while in NY I highly recommend it. I did a sneak peek on Instagram last week and was thrilled to find so many other Creed lovers! You gave me some amazing recommendations which I’ve noted and will be taking with me on my next counter visit (there’s a counter near me in Tampa!).

Quick recap on the Mother’s Day set. It will be available exclusively online at CreedBoutique.com from May 1st to May 10th, orders must be placed by 12 pm PST. Available scents with this set include Love in White, Royal Princess Oud, Spring Flower, Acqua Fiorentina and Fleurs de Gardenia. Prices vary depending on the scent you pick and which flower box you choose.

Do you have any Creed favorites? I’ve been spritzing Spring Flower since I got back home to Florida every day and am obsessed although I still really love Virgin Island Water.

Many thanks to Creed for gifting this beautiful set and for allowing me to photograph the inside of their NYC store.

Boutique California Fragrance Travel

Scent Bar Los Angeles

February 21, 2017

Lucky Scent - Scent Bar Los Angeles | The Beauty Look Book

I stopped by the Scent Bar in Los Angeles over the weekend and this store takes the perfume experience to a new level of amazing. It’s been a while since I stopped by the store as I tend to gravitate towards larger retailers for my beauty shopping – but this place is the best I’ve shopped at for perfume. For those in-the-know you are already aware of all the reasons why this place is great: unique selection, relaxing intimate store setting, knowledgeable and friendly staff, and there is absolutely no sales pressure. The store is primarily organized by notes to help you find variations of what you like by mood. There are also a few areas organized by brand. They carry a wide range of brands including Tom Ford, Byredo, Creed, L’Artisan, Cire Trudon, Serge Lutens, and Escentric Molecules to name a few. The experience you’ll have shopping here is going to be different than most other beauty shopping experiences. I think it’s great because it’s suitable for anyone no matter what level of perfume expertise they have. They have a unique selection for those who want something unusual or different. At the same time they carry a good selection of more main stream but still luxurious brands to pick from. If you’re a complete perfume novice I think it’s perfect as they’ll really help you find your perfect scent as well.

On Saturday afternoon I was delighted to find the store wasn’t busy when I stopped by and was lucky to have the whole store to myself for a little while while. It quickly filled up with a lot of customers within the next hour but the staff was still extremely patient, friendly and I was really impressed with how well they were able to meet everyone’s needs even when it became busy. A look at the store for those who haven’t been before:

Lucky Scent - Scent Bar Los Angeles | The Beauty Look Book

Everything is organized and sorted by notes, although some brands are grouped together:

Lucky Scent - Scent Bar Los Angeles | The Beauty Look Book

Lucky Scent - Scent Bar Los Angeles | The Beauty Look Book

Steven at the store helped me and he was amazing to work with. I shared a few of my favorites with him to see what he would recommend. At the top of my list right now included Tom Ford Soleil Blanc, Creed Virgin Island Water, L’Artisan Mure et Musc and L’Artisan L’Ete en Douce. He immediately identified my tastes as liking clean, beachy and fresh scents. I told him I love vanilla but couldn’t find one that I could wear so he pulled an almond option which I fell in love with immediately. He pulled few suggestions for me to smell and it was literally like magic – all of his recommendations were great.

  • Profumum Confetto is a sugared almond that smells like a delicious sweet scent without the overpowering notes of vanilla that you usually find, they were unfortunately sold out but this was next level delicious
  • Parfumerie Generale Le Musc and La Peau was recommended as a good skin scent since I loved L’Artisan L’Ete En Douce (once of the few I’ve used up entirely), it has a white musk blend with light florals and smells like skin, but fresh and has a hint of sandalwood, this was at the top of my list and I almost came close to buying it but they urged me to take a sample home and wear it to enjoy it over a few days and take my time deciding
  • Escentric Molecules was an interesting line try, I smelled a few and they had a small sample pack which they gave me to try, I sprayed one on my hand and I could not smell anything but they did explain it’s something others can smell on you rather than something you can smell on yourself, I’ll report after I’ve had a chance to try them
  • Maison Francis Kurkdijian is a line that has intrigued me but one I’ve been intimated to try at department stores because of the pressure I experience from pushy sales associates, the Scent Bar is the perfect place to try these as an alternative, Steven patiently went through the line and picked his five favorites that he thought I might enjoy, the top three being the Petite Matin, Aqua Universalis and A La Rose, I am going to try to go back and see if they have the discovery set in store to buy
  • Byredo Mojave Ghost is one I’ve smelled before, another one that tempted me but I still have Bal D’Afrique and Black Saffron which have a long way to go before being used up, so decided to wait on this one

I left by buying a Cire Trudon candle in Ernesto which is one of the most amazing candles I’ve ever burned (I had a mini from a trio set a few years ago). They will make samples for you so I left with a couple on a card to try at home.

Lucky Scent - Scent Bar Los Angeles | The Beauty Look Book

Lucky Scent - Scent Bar Los Angeles | The Beauty Look Book

Lucky Scent - Scent Bar Los Angeles | The Beauty Look Book

Lucky Scent - Scent Bar Los Angeles | The Beauty Look Book

Scent Bar Los Angeles | The Beauty Look Book

Bottom line perfume heaven and a beauty lover’s dream come true. They have candles and some body products as well, but the primary focus is perfume. These days online shopping has been my go-to for convenience, no pressure and also no attitude, but with scent often times you have to just experience it in person to decide what to buy. Even though I’m a beauty lover, I really don’t like shopping for perfumes in stores because of the pressure to buy. The Scent Bar however offers a really unique experience without the pressure. You can learn about different lines or perfumes at your leisure and take your time to find something you’ll truly love. This place is definitely worth the visit if you’re ever in Los Angeles. They’re located at 7405 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036. If I lived closer to this place I know I’d be in here on a regular basis. They do sell items online too on their website Lucky Scent.

Have you been to their store before? If not where do you like to shop for your perfumes?

Boutique New York Travel

Birchbox Soho Flagship Store in NYC

July 1, 2016

While in New York I stopped by the Birchbox Flagship Store located at 433 West Broadway in Soho. Most of us know Birchbox for their monthly subscription boxes but if you were able to stop by one of their #Birchboxinmycity Road Trip Destinations last year you were able to catch a glimpse of what their store setup looks like road trip style (Los Angeles covered in this post here). If you’re in NYC I highly recommend giving this store a visit. For the ladies who travel with their husbands, boyfriends or brothers – it’s not just a store for women, there’s an entire floor dedicated to men’s grooming and lifestyle. You can bring your male travel companions with you, send him to men’s floor while you look at makeup, skincare and fragrance and don’t have to worry about him being bored or impatient while you shop 🙂

This store is really a one-stop-shop for beauty and skincare essentials. As mentioned in my last post, between Birchbox and Space NK I found that they carried all the items I would need for a week’s worth of travel. One of the nice things about Birchbox is that they have curated Discovery Sets stocked with minis in addition to travel-sized beauty items you can buy so you don’t have to worry about buying large full size items that you can’t bring put inside a carry-on. I will say though during my trip I ended up picking up quite a few full-sized liquids over the security limit. I ended up shipping items in a large FedEx box home so I didn’t have to check it. (More on this in my packing post soon.)
Onto a look inside the beautiful store. Birchbox organizes their store by product category rather than having brand-dedicated sections. The staff at the store is very helpful and knowledgeable – if you need help picking out items someone is there to guide you and give recommendations. There are two levels, the ground level is for women and there’s a lower level for me.

Sun care, hair care, Oribe Travel Surf Set and Volume Set Trios (both reviewed here) alongside the limited-edition Sunny Side Boxes for summer:

Smith and Cult polishes:

More Hair Care to explore:

Makeup:

Skincare shown on the left, Discovery Sets on the right:

At the end of the store they have a Build Your Own Birchbox station where you can pick out 5 items to build your own box. You pick out 1 item from 5 categories covering skincare, body, fragrance, makeup and hair.

A look at the Men’s Shop with grooming, skincare, fragrance and body care and BYOB stations:

A few last shots of the women’s shop:

I built two Birchboxes in the store, one for husband (he did not go to the store with me) and one for myself. Inside my husband’s are minis of Baxter of California Grooming Lotion (his favorite hair grooming product), Baxter Facial Scrub, Eau Profonde Cologne, Junk Stuff (the name got me lol), Under Eye Patches, and a USB Cable – the men’s boxes have a lifestyle option.

For mine I picked out minis of Coola Sport Sunscreen in Fresh Mango SPF 50, Malin+Goetz Peppermint Shampoo, Avene Cleanance Cleansing Gel, Comptoir Sud Pacific Vanille Abricot and Mally Shadow Stick in Copper Rose.

 

So happy I was able to stop by the store and that the social team let me take photographs to my heart’s desire. I visited bright and early right when the store opened and had a lot of fun exploring. I think I could have spent an entire day inside – everything is very clean and organized which makes for a great shopping experience.

If you are in the area I highly recommend giving it a visit for a fun yet relaxing beauty shopping experience. Hope you enjoyed taking a peek inside the store! For those planning a visit, check out their Birchbox Soho page for location, hours and store events.
Boutique New York Travel

Space NK Boutique – 31 Prince Street in Nolita

June 30, 2016

Last week I stopped by a few of my favorite beauty shops in NYC. Living in Southern California I am lucky to have access to most brands but often times don’t have a free standing boutique near me for some stores to get the full experience. I was beyond thrilled to stop by Space NK’s newest New York Boutique on 31 Prince Street in Nolita. This was my first time inside a free standing store and it is a beauty lover’s dream come true. Between Space NK and Birchbox Soho – you literally have all your beauty and grooming (for men) needs covered. Both stock a wide variety of mid to high end beauty brands and from the looks of it, they have everything one could need and in travel sizes too. As I was oohing and aaahing at all the shelves in Space NK, by I thought to myself I should have skipped the stress of trying to hoard minis and pack all my liquids into a quart size bag (since I travel carry-on style) and made this store my first stop in once I arrived in the city.
The store is located on the corner of Prince and Mott – it’s one of the most charming beauty spaces I’ve been inside. There’s a lot stocked in the store covering skincare, hair care, cosmetics and more – at the same time it’s very spacious with a wide open feeling that gives it a luxurious feel. Walking inside is pretty amazing – I could not help but wish that I had a space like this in my home. Displays are organized by brand and product type. Skincare is split into different walls for the natural brands, more techy brands etc. I had just missed a Dr. Lancer appearance and book signing which happened at the store a few days prior. There are decicated areas for Lancer Skincare.

Wall of skincare featuring By Terry, Chantecaille, Sunday Riley, Eve Lom, Tata Harper:

So much love for By Terry, can I have one of everything please?

The Hourglass display complete with Ambient Lighting Powders, Foundations, Brushes and more:

Eve Lom foundations and powders to the left, Smith & Cult to the right:

More beauty from Kevyn Aucoin and Lord and Berry:



Wall of heaven stocked with Oribe minis, Ouai, Sachajuan, Gloss Moderne and more: 

Brow kiosk and Lipstick Queen:

Close up of Oribe heaven, full size wall and then stocked travel size minis:

Overall a must-stop if you visit New York City. There are quite a few Space NK stores located through the city, I was glad I stopped by this one as it’s in a cute neighborhood and Diptyque is just around the corner. It has a similar vibe and feel to the dedicated Space NK sections you may see inside a Bloomingdale’s (which I also love) but being able to visit a separate store is really a must if you can.
Many thanks to Space NK for allowing me to take photos inside their beautiful store. Next time I’m in New York I won’t be packing a lot of items, I know now that I can simply stop by here and purchase what I need as they carry my favorite brands.

Have you been inside a Space NK store before? I know they are all over the US but this is my first time visiting a dedicated store. Hope you enjoyed this peek into their space! Snippets on their social too @spacenkusa – something I live vicariously through since I don’t have a store near me. It’s nice to see snapshots of their stores around the country and new launch sneak peeks.

P.S. There’s a summer sale going on right now, some items are marked up to 50% off 🙂
Boutique France Hauls Travel

Paris Shopping Guide: Beauty

June 28, 2015

Shopping in Paris was quite an experience. I was thoroughly impressed by the excellent customer service. We observed tourists shopping from a number of different countries – I was impressed by the fact that many associates were fluent in multiple languages including English, German, Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and more. Beauty shopping in Paris is unlike anything else – almost all the stores we stopped by had associates that were knowledgeable, friendly, helpful and very patient.

Before I left the US for Europe, I made a list of stores I wanted to visit and mapped them out. The city of Paris is divided into twenty districts called arrondissements. Mapping out all the monuments, shops, restaurants and hotels of interest helped us plan our days in Paris. In the time we were in Paris – we spent most of our time sight-seeing and enjoying the parks and cafes. I didn’t get to see all the shopping places on my list – I could have spent an entire week just window shopping or browsing and still not have made a dent in seeing what the city has to offer.

The beauty places I shopped, browsed and stopped by, sorted by arrondissment:

French Pharmacies
Location: all over the city

I was thrilled to visit several French Pharmacies around Paris. Quite a few of my friends here in the US who have been to France and studied French in college said the pharmacies are like CVS and Rite Aid in the US – they are on almost every corner and stock items locals aren’t really excited about. I didn’t know what to expect but was really impressed by the selection. Stores were stocked with Bioderma, La Roche-Posay, Phyto, Caudalie, Nuxe and more. Some had an entire wall of Nuxe or Phyto. I only made a few small purchases since most of what I was interested in were liquids – I wouldn’t have been able to fit them in my quart-sized carry on. I went inside about a dozen – most stock similar items. Some have more variety compared to others. I was really impressed with the reps in each store. The vast majority seemed to wear white lab coats, they were very knowledgeable in all the lines and options. They were really helpful too. I was able to snap few quick photos inside a couple with my iPhone. I was really impressed by the selection of sunscreens available – had I planned our itinerary better, I would have shifted our Paris week to the end of the trip and filled a suitcase with liquids (skincare, body care, jams, jellies, tea and all the things you can’t carry on). Bioderma minis were plentiful and cheap – usually around 2-3 € or sometimes in packs.

Printemps Louvre
Location: 99 Rue de Rivoli, 1st Arrondissment

There is a small Printemps store underneath the Louvre in the Carrousel Shops. The upside of shopping here is there are a lot of stores in one place and most are opened on Sunday. The beauty section in Printemps Louvre was the only store in Paris I wasn’t thrilled with. The store was extremely packed and busy the first time I visited (although it was on a weekend). Associates weren’t as friendly as other stores I had visited. There was a beautiful Louboutin display of all the nail colors along with shoes, clutches and wallets. I stopped by a second time on our trip back to the US to buy one of the new Scarabée colors – however all the associates were visibly upset with all the shoppers touching and moving the Louboutin nail polishes. They stood guard and kept moving them back into place – understandable if they wanted to keep the display pristine, however if there was a look but don’t touch rule, they should have sectioned it off or put up a sigh. I made sure not to touch any since I didn’t want to make them upset. I wanted to purchase a few but they were so rude I left without buying anything. (I ordered the three new ones from Nordstrom and they were waiting for me at my house when I returned to the US, I hope to swatch soon – they are gorgeous!)

Diptyque Paris
Location: 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 5th Arrondissment

Being the die-hard Diptyque fan that I am, visiting the store on 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain was at the top of my list. The store is exquisite in a quaint and inviting kind of way. I wish I could have transported the store and put it inside my home – the decorations and displays were beautiful. The store associate was very friendly – we chatted about the boutiques that had opened up in California (San Francisco, Beverly Hills, South Coast Plaza and Larchmont). The store offerings were almost identical to those in the US with the exception of the room sprays. When I go back to Paris I hope to buy more of the room sprays. I left buying one, Feuille de Lavande which is incredible (similar but stronger than the candle version). For me this was heaven.

Cire Trudon
Location: 78 Rue de Seine, 6th Arrondissment

I wasn’t able to make it into the Cire Trudon store. We stopped by it on the way to dinner but they had already closed and I never made it back. I hope to visit on my next trip to Paris. The displays in the store looked beautiful – the photos I took were too dark but I did get one snapshot of the outside.

Sephora Champs-Élysées
Location: 70-72 Av. des Champs-Élysées, 8th Arrondissment

The Sephora store on the Champs-Élysées was unreal. It was the ultimate beauty shopping store. I’ve never seen such a large store and it was amazing. The entrance had a large red carpet with kiosks along the side with beautiful Dior displays. The entire wall was covered with Dior. Also inside included brands you don’t see in Sephora stores in the US: MAC, Serge Lutens, a beauty bar for makeup application, a nail bar where women were getting nail touch ups, By Terry, Chanel and so much more. I could have spent an entire day inside – but I limited myself to the Dior and travel section so I wouldn’t do too much damage.

Guerlain Champs-Élysées
Location: 68 Av. des Champs-Élysées, 8th Arrondissment

I only briefly walked through this beautiful boutique. It was filled with so many different perfumes I think it would take me weeks to learn about all the options. I only use a couple items from Guerlain so I didn’t purchase anything from the store. If I could describe it in one word though it would be “magical.” There is at least one more Guerlain store in Paris, but this one was recommended as the best to me.

Chanel Beauté
Location: 382 Rue Saint Honoré, 8th Arrondissment

Chanel is easy to find in Paris. The Rue Cambon Boutique has a beauty section in the store but it was very busy. Around the corner there is a little beauty store on Rue Saint Honoré which is dedicated to beauty, skincare and fragrance. The store itself is extremely small. There were 5 other customers inside, myself and 3-4 associates roaming around helping people and we barely had room to navigate. It’s very cute inside and minimalist. The associate who helped me was very nice – I asked to test a few powders and she showed me some of the new Sublimage skincare that had just launched. They have the Exclusifs line – the bottles lined up on the wall looked so beautiful.

Printemps Haussmann
Location: 64 Boulevard Haussmann, 9th Arrondissment

This was my favorite store out of all the shops I visited. So many brands within one store, beauty floors on multiple levels. They have a special Diptyque candle called Primavera to celebrate the 150th anniversary. I think pictures are worth a thousand words – so I’ll let the pictures do the talking here even though they don’t do the store justice. Here are some snapshots I took with my iPhone. It’s a beauty addict’s makeup heaven.

Galeries Lafayette
Location: 40 Boulevard Haussmann, 9th Arrondissment

Galeries Lafayette is one of the most famous department stores in Paris. The inside of the store is beautiful from every angle. The ceiling is exquisite. They carry a diverse range of luxury beauty and fashion items – Hermes, Goyard, Chanel, Dior, Guerlain and so much more. Since this store carries a lot of brands under one house, it is extremely packed and very busy. I made a few fashion purchases here but wasn’t able to go to any of the counters. There were simply too many people although I did venture in on a Saturday – probably not the best time to shop.

A few thoughts on beauty shopping in Paris:

Take note, most stores and shops are closed on Sunday,
although some in major tourist areas are open on Sundays (i.e. those on
the Champs-Elysees). Visiting individual brand boutiques can be really fun to see each line in their independent settings – how each brand displays the products and the presentation of collections is a sight to behold and really quite stunning. This however can be a bit time consuming so if your shopping time is limited, you can find most items at the larger department stores. My personal favorite was Printemps Haussmann (many readers commented this was the best department store to shop in Paris and I agree!) – the associates at Diptyque, Chanel and L’Artisan were so helpful and threw in so many samples my jaw dropped.
Many international travelers already know this, but if you reside outside of the European Union, are 16 years +, have a passport and spend €175+ in the same store on the same day in Paris, you can be eligible for a 12% tax refund. There are several ways to claim it – by mailed check, ACH back to your credit card, or cash back upfront at certain department stores. Some have automatic kiosks to process your receipts that are easy to use but often have lines. I used a kiosk at one of the stores and accidentally pushed the button for cash refund – in total we waited about 35 minutes in the line. Each store may have a slightly different policy for what you can or can’t combine if it’s a department store – any associate can help explain how it works. To process your refund, you need to have it validated by customs within 3 months of purchase date at the airport, train station or border. Galeries Lafayette has a comprehensive overview of the tax refund process here.

When in doubt, ask for assistance – I was impressed by the French men and women who worked at the beauty shops and counters. Many of my readers and other bloggers have mentioned they learn something new every time they venture into Paris for shopping. This was my first time to Paris and I was really impressed by the level of customer service, professionalism and friendliness. The French take shopping to a new level. A few personal observations:
  • The stores in Paris are well stocked with inventory where in the US often times stores like J.Crew or even Nordstrom (these days) don’t carry as much inventory compared to online. In the US I am fed the phrase “we can order it for you online” more and more in physical stores these days. It’s a nice service to have – but time is precious and the more I find things sold out in stores (and not even limited-edition items) the more I feel like just shopping online to save time. Shopping in person is better to see things in person whether it’s clothes, makeup, items for the house or really anything. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I find in-store inventory decreases more and more even though the number of physical stores sometimes increases.
  • Department stores and retailers like Sephora France carry a wide range of brands making one-stop-shopping truly possible. Printemps for example has multiple beauty floors – I found this a bit confusing as we moved from one floor to the next seeing multiple Dior or Chanel booths. But it did make it nice to navigate and see different setups. In the US, if I want to see all the beauty brands I have on a list, I often have to visit 3-4 distinct stores to purchase to Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Diptyque, Caudalie, Fresh and Hourglass (as an example).
  • Parisian beauty counters and shops seem very generous with samples and not just any flimsy sample packets, actual good ones! The Chanel Beauty boutique on Rue Saint Honore gifted a deluxe mini of the exclusifs bottle of Gardenia along with skincare and foundation packets (although I did spend a substantial amount there). Printemps Chanel threw in minis and a deluxe-sized mini of Bleu de Chanel for my husband. For Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain threw in so many skincare packets and some fragrance minis although I have to say the Diptyque store at South Coast Plaza in the US is also very generous to loyal customers.
Have you shopped for beauty in Paris before? What was your experience? Did you have any favorite stores or amazing beauty finds? I hope to go back in the near future. There is so much to explore!