The cutest Away Mini Travel Cases are back for a limited time! I’ve been writing about these since 2016 and am completely obsessed. The minis are typically launch only during the holiday season and sell out very quickly – if you missed out here’s another peek at them. They retail for $35 each just for the case itself and right now come in the core colors. These are hard zip cases with a mesh pouch in the interior and measure approximately 7″ x 5″ x 3″ – they’re nice to store things you don’t want to get smushed when traveling like small hair brushes, sunglasses, beauty essentials etc. You can find them right now online at AwayTravel.com (under their Gifts and Extras section).
The cases are versatile for a wide range of things. I don’t just use these for travel. I use them for weekend day trips, going to the beach, etc. They’re nice and compact and perfect for carrying inflight essentials. If I’m flying to be safe I put all my liquids I’m carrying on the plane into a quart size zip loc back before putting them into the hard case to make sure it will be within the quart size limit. Pulling one image from the archives below:
A peek at past trips when I brought my Away mini with me. Also shown on a shelfie and with other things for scale. They’re pretty sturdy and easy to clean on the outside – just use a Magic Eraser and warm water and it cleans up perfectly!
A number of you asked me how the Away Mini compares to the Truffle Jetset Clarity Case. They’re both excellent for travel – it just depends on your packing style and preference. The benefit of the Away Mini is that it has a hard shell so it will protect things better than a leather zip pouch. However the Truffle Jetset is a little bigger around and shorter in depth so you can fit longer things.
I’ve traveled with both on numerous occasions. Each one has their benefits for carrying on the plane or for travel. I do think the Away Mini is more budget friendly and they make really cute gifts. I’ve bought one for so many of my friends and family. It makes me so happy to hear and see how they use them for even just everyday things. My brother keeps his everyday essentials (like contact solution, etc.) in the Away case in his backpack. Some of you have told me you keep your essential travel documents like passport or other papers inside for easy access when you travel.
They just came back in stock for a limited time. If you have these on your wishlist I recommend buying soon! I just ordered a few more colors to stock up for gifts. For now they’re available just with the case alone. I’m hoping they’ll also bring them back during the holiday with sets like they have in the past!
The Away Mini is available only at Away Travel online and in their free-standing stores.
If you’re in search of a good travel makeup bag I have a few favorites I’m sharing today! I’ve put quite a few to the test over the years and I’m rounding up the ones I swear by to haul around my makeup for travel. I’ve tried so many different brands, sizes and styles over many trips. I’m constantly testing different shapes in search of the best ones to pack my makeup. Finding the best makeup bag for me depends on trip length and destination. I like to have different options for makeup vs. skin and hair as I keep things separated by product type so it’s easier for me to find things. I also like flat zip or snap closure pouches to carry around with me as well. Today I’m sharing the three travel pouches I brought with me on my most recent trip along with more thoughts and comparisons on a few different styles/shapes.
The Daily Edited
The Daily Edited makes some of my favorite travel makeup cases. They functional, chic, well made and I love the personalization options! I really love their Large Cosmetic Case. It’s roomy with a wide base so I can fit quite a bit inside. I own this in a couple colors and I’ve brought this one on every single trip since I purchased it in fall 2017. It has a saffiano textured finish and both have held up really well. Another one of my favorites is their Transparent Cosmetic Case for an affordable option to the Anya Hindmarch Inflight Bags. You can read the review plus comparison in this post here. Quick note that since I bought mine The Daily Edited has changed the design slightly of the trim which you can see on their website. I usually bring the transparent one with me as well but there was a new bag from Truffle that I wanted to try this trip.
Truffle has been a long time favorite as well – I carry their flat pouches with me pretty much everywhere I go. I have them in my purse, in my gym bag and they are always part of my travel uniform. I’ve used these for years and found that their plastic material and leather has held up really nicely even with regular use. Similar to any clear material the plastic will get get dirty with smudges but it’s easy to clean. I clean mine with Novus Plastic Clean and Shine every once in a while and it removes all the sand, debris and smudges. For travel I always pack their Clarity Jetset Case with me. They’re small enough to throw in my tote for day-to-day. They’re also good for bringing some inflight essentials with you. For ideas on how to use it, you can see what I packed inside for our California trip last year in this post here. I also pack my on-the-go fitness beauty essentials inside it for when we go out and run. Truffle just launched a Clarity Jumbo Jetset Case which is a larger version and has two zip around compartments. It’s longer and deeper so can fit more things like longer makeup compacts (I put my Naked Reloaded inside and it fit perfectly!). One half has an elastic band to help hold things in place.
A closer look at the Clarity Jumbo Jetset Case ($125). Measures 9″ W X 3″ H X 6″ D
What I fit inside the Jumbo Jetset:
Clear Envelope /Flat Pouches
The third thing I never leave home without is a flat clear pouch. Ouai also makes some of my favorite clear envelope pouches. Every time I feature one I’m asked by everyone where it’s from! There are two sizes, a Mini Envelope Clutch ($15) and a Larger Envelope Clutch ($25). They are so convenient to travel with because you can see everything inside it! I’ve found them on their website, unfortunately they’re frequently sold out, the larger one is in stock right now on the US site, mini is available on their UK site. I’ve seen them restock a number of times in the past on the US website so I’d recommend keeping an eye if you have this on your wishlist. I also really love the Truffle Clarity Clutches in Small and Mini sizes to throw in my travel bag. Long time readers know these are always with me!
Inside the Ouai Mini Envelope that I brought to Miami with me (I also carry it with me to the beach at home as well):
I really love having a clear makeup bag so I can see what is inside. Flat pouches are easier to pack into a tote because they’re slimmer and keep things compact, but if you have larger compacts or bottles they tend to stretch out the clear plastic options. Some additional thoughts:
The Daily Edited Large Cosmetic bag is my favorite makeup bag for traveling. It’s quite roomy and the shape works well for my travel style and needs. It can hold a lot of minis, compacts, lipsticks etc. The only downside is there isn’t really a separate compartment for things like brushes. If you like a large open compartment style bag this is the best one I’ve tried.
For the clear zip bag options:
Truffle’s Clarity Jumbo Jetset Case is the largest option I own. It’s long enough to hold compacts like Urban Decay’s Naked Palette with extra room. The elastic strap in the bottom is handy but pretty stretchy. I like that it has a handle on one end but that still lies flat against the bag. Since it’s bigger it can hold more liquids and stack more products inside. The price is on the high side but it’s very well made.
The Daily Edited Transparent Cosmetic Case is the middle of the road option for size. It’s been a great one for me on many trips and I still think it’s worth the splurge. This one is long enough to hold the Urban Decay Naked Palette as well, but the Truffle Jumbo option is larger. If you travel with carry-on suitcases or smaller soft bags this is going to be a better option as it’s more compact and won’t take up as much luggage space.
The Truffle Clarity Jetset is the smallest single compartment option I have. The size is perfect to throw in your gym bag or put in a small tote/travel bag for under the seat. It can hold small chargers, cords, passport, notebooks, etc. for easy access. Since it’s smaller it’s easy to fit into a carry on bag or tote. I’ve found it very versatile!
Do you need more than one? I like to have different pouches to separate items by category when I travel so it’s easier to find things. I keep skin/hair care in one pouch, electronics/chargers in another, makeup in a different bag, etc.
Pricing is high for both The Daily Edited and Truffle, but I’ve found them 100% worth it. They occasionally do flash sales or holiday sales so I’d recommend signing up for their newsletter or follow on social for notifications on special offerings. I just ordered some more Daily Edited pieces because they had a site-wide sale for 2 days last week, can’t wait to show you what I bought!
I’ve linked a few other more affordable clear bag alternatives below. You can definitely find other clear bag alternatives at lower price points but I still think Truffle and The Daily Edited have exceptional quality for the price! MAC also carries some clear bag squares and pouches online that I’ve tried in the past and liked. They didn’t hold up quite as well and I had to throw a few away though.
Hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know if I can answer any other questions about these cases! What makeup cases do you like to travel with? Do you usually go on shorter trips or longer ones?
Truffle Jumbo Jetset gifted. All other items featured purchased by me.
We had so much fun in Miami I almost didn’t want to come back home! Last weekend Andrew told me he wanted to go to Miami for a spontaneous getaway trip – spontaneous as in “let’s go tomorrow.” I’m normally one who prefers more advance notice but all he had to do was mention The Salty Donut and I did not hesitate to immediately start throwing things into a suitcase. I don’t think I’ve ever packed so fast in my life! If you haven’t tried The Salty Donut in Miami add it yo your list. They have the best donuts I’ve ever had and if I lived in Miami I think eating there would be a weekly habit.
Since moving to Florida so many of you have asked me about packing tips for your vacations. You want to know what to wear, how hot it gets, what sunscreen wears the best, etc. I’ve also received so many questions about the Away Luggage and other accessories like their packing cubes, everywhere bag and backpacks. I’ve put together a travel diary to share exactly what I packed, what I wore and thoughts about everything we’ve tried from Away.
This trip we stayed at the Loews Miami in South Beach. We’ve stayed in a few different areas in Miami before and we really love staying by the beach areas. Other neighborhoods also have their benefits but being in South Beach is so fun. You can literally just stay at a hotel in the area and have everything you need for a fun vacation without a car. We like to get around and since we live in Florida we drove 4 hours from Tampa to Miami. We had a pleasant stay at the Loews! Staff is really attentive, rooms were clean, pool and beach area were really nice. The food and coffee bar were spendy but that is expected in South Beach. We tried breakfast at their Preston’s Market which was pretty good – we ate outside on the covered patio which was really beautiful and relaxing.
This is our fourth trip to Miami and each time we plan a mini vacation. We leave feeling like we should have stayed longer! We’ve already found some favorite eats but force ourselves to try something new each time. That being said, my ride or die must-eats for every trip are The Salty Donut and Panther Coffee in Wynwood. We bought a box of four Salty Donuts and walked over to Panther Coffee down the street for a perfect snack. This round we tried the Guava and Cheese, Coconut Lychee, Chocolate Marshmallow and Traditional Glazed Donuts. They’re AMAZING!
For shopping we stopped by the Glossier Miami Pop Up which was a few blocks away, also in Wynwood until April 28th. Full recap plus haul in this post. If you’re in town definitely visit – it’s super cute!
Just around the corner, Wynwood Walls:
During our trip we did a tiny little bit of shopping. We did a quick stop in the Miami Design District to walk around, window shop and browse. I splurged on a pair of Celine Round Sunglasses which I’m really excited about! There’s also a tiny Aesop Store and Andrew bought a few skincare items to try including the Control Anti Blemish Gel and another bottle of Mouthwash. I had my eye on the Sao Paulo Kit for travel but decided to think about it.
There’s a really cute Taco Truck inside the Miami Design District called La Pollita which has cute snacks and drinks. We were stuffed from food earlier in the day otherwise would have tried the tacos, we took a few sneaky peeks at what other people were eating and it looked and smelled delicious.
Since we stayed in South Beach we spent the rest of our time near the beach areas. This time of year it’s warm but not too humid and the water temperature is so nice to swim in! We love the blue shallow water, it’s one of the nicest places to swim. We rented lounge chairs and an umbrella at the beach. You can also rent them even if you’re not a hotel guest. Policy might be different depending on hotel, but we’ve also found in Tampa a lot of the hotels will rent their beach chairs and cabanas to anyone.
A few more new eats we tried this time included Yardbirds on Leonox Ave and Havana 1957 on Espanola Way. We enjoyed both immensely! If you’re new to the Miami South Beach area, quick note that some restaurants automatically include tip in the bill labeled “Service Charge.” We didn’t realize this at one of the places we ate until after we left and looked at the bill and realized we ended up leaving a seriously hefty tip because we tipped on top of the tip. A few people had mentioned this to me before but I had forgotten about it! I feel like I still have yet to really explore Miami enough to find the best eats. I’d love to explore more of Wynwood though.
Since first discovering Away I’ve now tried their Carry-On, Bigger Carry-On, Medium Suitcase, Everywhere Bag, Packing Cubes and Backpack. Everything has exceeded our expectations in quality and function. I’m an Away Ambassador so the items I’ve featured were gifted but I stand by everything 100%. I have also bought many suitcases on my own to gift to family and it’s been well received, even among the most skeptical and picky ones. Everything has held up really well. My thoughts on each item:
Carry-On Suitcase is best if you’re a light packer or traveling on international flights with smaller suit case carry on restrictions
Bigger Carry-On is our favorite to fly with and travel with in general. Works on flights we’ve flown with Delta, United, American Airlines. It’s roomier than the Carry-On but still fits in the overhead compartments for the listed airlines.
Medium Suitcase makes more sense for us for longer distance trips. We brought this with us on our California trip over the holiday and think it’s much more convenient to have something larger vs. carry ons for our needs. I plan on buying a second one soon.
Everywhere Bag is the best travel bag I’ve ever tried. I normally use my totes and end up stuffing them full. These bags have well thought out storage zippers and pockets as well as a roomy interior. It fits perfectly under the airplane seat in front of you but is roomy enough to carry a laptop and other essentials you might need for on the plane. There is an exterior pocket to store documents for easy access before you get on the plane. It also has a pocket to attach onto your suitcase handle.
Packing Cubes have gone through a couple design changes, the current ones with mesh top are a lifesaver to organize your clothes, underwear, shoes etc and keep them in place. I bought a set for Andrew and he didn’t want to use them. I begged him to try and he’s now convinced it’s one of the best things invented. He can organize all his clothes by type and he loves how they truly keep things in place without shifting.
Backpack is the larger option of the two they carry, this one has three main compartments to store things that allow you to be truly hands free. We love that it’s cushioned and that the base is flat so it can actually stand up on it’s own if you set it down. There are a couple nicely hidden compartment zippered pockets for things like your passport etc. It fits a lot more than we anticipated!
A closer look at the Backpack which now has a personalization option! There are some more of their soft goods you can personalize with 3 letters which I think is so fun. I have my initials on the backpack. We brought it with us to the beach both back home in Tampa and in Miami. It has really well thought out pocket placement so there’s a place for everything. This one can fit a laptop inside as well.
My full pack list linked below, makeup and beauty to follow in a separate post! We each packed a Bigger Carry-On, an Everywhere Bag and shared the Backpack space. Our trip was open ended – we didn’t know how long we’d be away when we left Tampa.
What I packed (including a couple things I didn’t wear but brought just in case):
You always love reading my thoughts on what I brought and what I missed so I’m doing it again! For a very casual laid back last minute getaway I had everything I needed. I still need to find a good beach coverup and an updated beach tote (although our backpack works better than any beach tote I’ve used). I didn’t pack a nice dress for a just-in-case occasion. Some of the restaurants are dressier and require something other than shorts. This round we were ok with everything very casual. I packed a denim jacket and some long denim pants just in case but didn’t end up wearing them. The three pairs of sandals I brought worked perfectly! I probably could have gotten away with just 1 pair of sandals but I like having options for a few days.
If you’re going to be in Florida know the weather can be unpredictable. Bring a few extra sets of clothes packed with you just in case you need to change if you get rained on or sweat too much. When we’re going out to the beach even in Tampa Andrew always reminds me to bring an extra set of clothes to change into. I feel like it’s a bit of a hassle but I’m always really happy when I do have that extra dry clean set to change into. Aside from the obvious good sunscreen and sunglasses, a good hat is a MUST. I really am so impressed with the Eric Javits one I bought – it is large enough to cover the face and has the perfect amount of flop/stiffness with the brim. I’m going to buy one in black too.
Hope you enjoyed this packing post and mini travel diary! We’ve been in Florida for a little over two years now and there’s still so much more to explore. I still want to go to Palm Beach and perhaps Key West again. If you’ve been to Florida what are your favorite areas?
I’m back from a mini vacation! We took a few days off to visit the other side of Florida and drove to Miami for some good food, more sunshine, more beaches and shopping. Several of my readers let me know about the Glossier Pop Up Store in Miami so we stopped by to check it out. It is one of the cutest pop up installations I’ve ever seen! It’s located in Wynwood on 222 NW 26th Street, open until April 28th. Hours are listed on the Glossier website. There are a lot of testers for you to play with, helpful staff and it’s basically an Instagram dream come true. Cute displays, mirrors for makeup application and selfies, postcards and the entire Glossier + Glossier Play line. Weekends can get pretty crowded and busy with a line but they move fairly quickly. We went to the pop up on two separate days because our first time there it was so crowded I didn’t want to wait to check out and purchase product.
Mini haul below including the Glossier Zit Stick, new Mango Balm Dot Com, Lash Slick, Glossier Play Niteshine in Pale Rose and Deep Copper, High Shine Lip Lacquers in Pony and Blow Up. I also tested their Milky Oil which seemed pretty impressive in taking off the eyeliners from the back of my hand. Unfortunately they were sold out so I ordered it online. I haven’t had a chance to test the makeup but the highlighters are tiny – they girls at the store explained they are dab and blend kind of highlighters and that does seem the best way to apply. A little goes a long way. I did try the new Mango Balm Dot Com and it has the most delicious sweet mango scent to it. I didn’t think I would like it because it’s really sweet, but I actually really love it.
Swatches of the makeup items I bought. I actually had a third highlighter on my list but they accidentally gave me two of the same shade. I’m giving away my extra (details in the widget at the end of the post).
We also saw the cute Mango Pop Up cart in the Miami Design District! You can check their Instagram to see where it’s going to show up next. On our second trip to the Pop Up we saw they had moved these to the actual store in the hallways but they might move again.
Definitely worth checking out! It’s super cute and fun to see all the items in person. If you’re not near a store you can always order online (that’s how I’ve always bought their products). If you want to use my referral link you can save 10% off your first order. I have some extras that I picked up so I’m giving away some goodies to 1 lucky reader. Open internationally but you must be 18 years or older to enter. Enter through the widget below. Giveaway entries are going to run through April 7th, 2019 11:59 PM EST. ONE winner will be selected within 72 hours after giveaway ends and emailed by me. Prizes ship within one week. Not sponsored or affiliated.
Today I’m sharing what makeup I packed for a week of travel in December to California! I’ve also included a closer look at three of my favorite makeup bags that I’ve used numerous times for travel. When it comes to travel and makeup I bring more than I need because I’m always testing products even when I’m on vacation! I don’t always manage to blog or post reviews while I’m on-the-go but behind the scenes I’m always testing and trying out product. For those who want to know sweater worn above is the Everlane Cashmere Crew in Light Oatmeal, size I ordered is XS and it’s a perfect fit! The customer reviews online helped me decide what size to pick based on height and weight.
My recent travel skincare favorites are in this post here. Today’s roundup is all about makeup! I fit most of my makeup into 3 key makeup bags that I have used on many trips including:
All three pouches are ones I bought myself and since I ordered them the prices have gone up. If you see different prices on older posts it’s because they have changed! I do think they were all worth the price because all three have held up really well. If you click on the Travel Packing category you can see what I’ve packed on previous trips. I also usually bring a few of the cute Glossier Pouches that come with online orders because they’re nice to have to protect compacts or fragile items.
Beauty spill of items I packed. I brought my Dyson Supersonic Dryer with me because we were going to be staying with family for a large portion of the trip. Both of them were our brothers who have short hair and don’t use dryers because they don’t need to! For brushes I brought the T3 Vented Brush with me.
Truffle Jetset Clarity Case
An overwhelming number of you asked me about the photo I posted on Instagram above, in particular you wanted to know what brand of makeup bag held all the brushes and if they were full size or travel size tools. I always tag items in Instagram photos so all you have to do is tap the photo once to see brand tags. This one is the Truffle Jetset Clarity Case. It measures 7.5 x 5.25 x 2 inches and has one open compartment inside. The top and base has a clear plastic window so you can see what’s inside. I’m able to fit a lot inside, I have a bag spill of everything I was able to put in it.
All the brushes I brought are the full size options. Lately I’ve been really loving the Laura Mercier Makeup Brushes*. She redesigned them sometime last year and they’re what I’ve been reaching for the most. They’re synthetic and pick up powders really well for smooth application. I still also really love Wayne Goss Makeup Brushes* because they’re ultra soft and well made. Mine have held up over a few years and many washes. I’ve reviewed them here and here.
It has two zippered compartments, one is deeper than the other. In the top I’m able to stack 2 Hourglass palettes, shadows and several foundations. If you’re packing liquids you’ll most likely have to put this into checked luggage. The bottom fit some Armani eyeshadow singles and the Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Palette perfectly.
Things packed inside include:
2 Hourglass 6-pan Palettes (holiday 2018 editions reviewed here and here)
Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in 6.5
Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Foundation* in Buff
Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter (review here)
Fenty Beauty Gloss Bombs in Fenty Glow and Fussy (beauty looks here)
Hourglass Arch Brow Tinted Brow Gel in Soft Brunette*
Tom Ford Boys and Girls Lipstick in River (review here)
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Pillow Talk
The Daily Edited Large Cosmetic Case
I’ve owned The Daily Edited Large Cosmetic Case one for a long time now and after using it on many trips and several moves I still find it’s one of my favorites. You can monogram these and I’ve picked the smaller size font sometimes with the blind embossing instead of the gold. A number of you have asked for a review on the Cuyana Makeup bags which I still plan on doing, but for this trip I wanted to bring ones I knew would work for me. This one is roomy and sturdy for all a number of things I want to bring. I sometimes pack a couple to separate and organize products.
Overall I think I packed everything I could have possibly needed for this trip. We tend to travel and dress casually otherwise I would have brought some bolder lip colors. I could have packed a lot more lip gloss or lipstick but I felt like I kept reaching for the light and glossy gloss bombs from Fenty Beauty. The IGK Jet Lag Dry Shampoo was a life saver for me. I’m one who prefers to wash my hair daily but there were a couple days we were so tired by the end of the day all I could do was wash my face before passing out and falling into a deep sleep. The dry shampoo was great for 2nd and 3rd day hair in the mild California climate.
Hope you liked this post! Do you have any go-to travel makeup bags? When I traveled with a couple girl friends I was really surprised to see they use these large canvas zip organizers that unfold and hang to fit all their beauty needs. It literally fits EVERYTHING inside. I like to keep my things separated in little pouches but perhaps I need to investigate the larger beauty organizers for travel.
Press samples have a * next to them. All other items purchased on my own.
I have a roundup of some of my favorite travel skincare items that I brought with me on our trip that I used. I tend to over pack on some beauty items, especially makeup, but for skin care I feel like I can keep my travel picks edited. We were in California for a full week and out of the items I packed these are the things I used! Most of my trips have been shorter ones so I pack minis with me when I can.
I usually pack a few face masks on trips but this round I brought my Foreo UFO and it was perfect! I reviewed in detail here, you can see a quick video demo here. I brought 10 packets of the different sheet formulas and used it every single day of our trip. I also packed it into my carry on bag to use on the plane. My skin tends to be dry at higher altitudes so this was the perfect tool to help replenish moisture quickly in 90 seconds. The weather in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco is also noticeably colder compared to Florida. Climate is also a lot more dry. Having this with me was perfect to hydrate and rebalance my skin. It was super convenient and compact to pack into my travel case.
For moisturizers I used two throughout the week. On most days I felt the Glow Recipe Watermelon Juice Moisturizer mini was sufficient for a lightweight moisturizer. The rest of my skin care routine was enough to balance my skin for something like this one. On a few days and night when I needed more I used the Tatcha Travel Silk Cream.
For lips I packed two items, the Tatcha Kissu Lip Mask (it was limited-edition and currently not available but I hope they bring it back!) and Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Champagne. I used the Tatcha Kissu at night and kept the Bite Beauty Lip Mask with me in my purse for on-the-go application. Both are excellent options for dry lips.
Two face mists I ended up bringing were the Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist and Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Face Mist. I did not need two but we booked our tickets last minute and I ended up with duplicates with my rush packing job. I ended up using both throughout our travels but found myself reaching more for the Tatcha one. I love that both are travel friendly in size!
Everything was packed up in a few travel pouches including my Away Mini Travel Case (sold out, but hopefully will be back!) and the Truffle Jetset Clarity Case. Both versatile and nice for traveling. I kept a few things to carry on the plane with me but for the most part checked the rest of the liquids in one of our medium suitcases.
There will be a few more packing posts to follow on my travel makeup and more but for now I hope you enjoyed reading about my skincare picks! I think I packed well. I could have skipped was the Baby Facial and packed 1 face mist instead of 2. We were only gone for a week but this was an open ended trip and there was a possibility we were going to be traveling for a while longer. I did feel like I was missing two key things. One was a good eye cream, but I felt my moisturizer did the job for the week. I also did not pack any acne spot treatments, but thankfully I had no breakouts this trip to worry about! I feel the best things I packed for skincare included the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask and Foreo UFO Smartmask. I now consider those travel essentials and definitely plan on bringing those with me on future trips!
Do you have any favorite travel skincare essentials? Do you tend to pack for shorter trips (1 week or shorter) or longer vacations? Would love to hear about your favorites!
Post sponsored by Foreo. Press samples featured include the Foreo UFO, Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist, Away Travel Case. Other items purchased by me. As always all opinions are my own.
We planned a spur of the moment trip to California the last week of 2018 and had such a great time. Andrew had some meetings on the West Coast so I decided to tag along to keep him company and to also visit family and friends. We decided to hit up three cities in one week including San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco. I was beyond thrilled to go back. We didn’t have any concrete plans beyond our flight dates. It was all about catching up with loved ones and packing in as much eating and shopping as we could! A number of you messaged me asking how I manage to stay fit while having an “amazing appetite” and it made me laugh so hard I started to cry. After months of sticking to mostly clean eating I decided to live life to the fullest and not care about the calories for the last week of the year. It was 100% worth it. Also with all the walking we did neither of us gained any weight during the trip.
Above Left: Flying out of Tampa International Airport overlooking St. Pete Beach, Right: Landed in San Diego with the Away Luggage in Bigger Carry On and two Everywhere Bags (c/o), rest of our luggage was at baggage claim, wearing Madewell Sweater, Joie Jacket (older style), jeans worn are Frame Denim, sneakers are Converse Shoes
We took a red eye from Tampa to San Diego and packed our Away Luggage with 1 Medium Suitcase, 2 Bigger Carry-Ons and 2 Everywhere Bags. Full review + packing posts to follow in separate features as this one is pretty lengthy with 3 cities. I will say that the Medium Luggage was perfect for us and that we are both incredibly impressed with the Everywhere Bags. In San Diego Andrew booked us a room at Hotel Republic near downtown. It was around 12 minutes walking distance from Little Italy and in a relatively safe area. We enjoyed our stay! The rooms were clean, modern and very comfortable. We would definitely consider staying here again.
We stopped by some of our favorite food places and tried one new spot. The first morning Andrew had to rush to meetings so we had breakfast in the hotel which was decent but there are better options in town. Our favorites:
Mission Cafe in North Park / Hillcrest – There are several locations around the city and this one is our favorite. They have the best rosemary potatoes and coffee in town. If you are going on the weekends go early, the wait can sometimes be longer 45 minutes!
In-N-Out Burger – I used to eat this weekly. There are no other burgers like this. If you like to eat healthy then I’d say avoid this, but I love it. My brother has offered so freeze and ship them to me from California.
Indigo Grill – One of our favorite dinner spots in Little Italy. We met up with a good friend here for dinner. If you try it I highly recommend you try out the brie appetizer. Their ribs are also pretty good.
Pho on 5th – This is a little hole in the wall Vietnamese restaurant, we’ve tried a lot in town and there are so many good ones. This one is our favorite.
Other food places I’d recommend by area:
Little Italy – Crack Shack, Ballast Point, Pappalecco (for coffee and desserts), Ironside, PrepKitchen
Hillcrest / Balboa Park – Cucina Urbana
La Jolla – PrepKitchen, Coffee Cup La Jolla, Whisknladle, Herringbone, Piatti
We stopped by Coronado a couple times to visit family and walk around the beach. Compared to Tampa, the beaches in Coronado seemed freezing this time of year! We still love it here.
I also made a point to stop by one of my favorite coffee shops in town. Communal Coffee has really interesting floral lattes (and regular ones too). Their light bites are very good as well. They have a cute flower shop inside which is a little spendy to build your own bouquet but they always have the prettiest fresh cut flowers. The shop is not just Instagram friendly. They actually have very good coffee and food.
Our next stop was LA! On the way up we stopped in between San Diego and Los Angeles to see Rachel of Beauty Professor! I posted a photo of us with her beautiful baby on Instagram in case you missed it! We drove up that evening to LA and we stayed with my brother while we were in town. View from my brother’s house:
We did one touristy thing while in town which was to visit the street where you can see the Hollywood Sign on Windsor Boulevard between 4th and 5th Street. Also shown in this post here.
We managed to pack in a lot of shopping at The Grove, Beverly Center, Americana at Brand and Westfield Century City. I would say the best spot to shop is Century City. The Grove is always fun, but with the recent changes and upgrades, you will find a lot more options at Century City or Americana At Brand. Melrose is also a super cute area for the smaller boutiques and restaurants. Quick thank you to the sweet readers who stopped me to say hello while we were out and about! It really made my day that you took the time to stop and say hi 🙂
Westfield Century City has Eataly is super cute inside! I think the one in New York is better, but the one in Los Angeles isn’t bad. We bought some bite-sized pastries and espresso to refuel and re-energize in between all of our walking and running around.
Sugarfina stores aren’t anywhere in Tampa (yet), they have a small selection here and there at a few stores, but no free standing location. I stocked up on their holiday santa cookies and gummies!
Compartes Chocolates has some of the cutest chocolate bars, I usually go to the one on Melrose but we didn’t make it there this time. Luckily there was a cute store in Century City!
Gjusta is my brother’s favorite place to eat so we met up with him there. This was my second time here and it is always amazing! We also really love Gjelina in Venice (restaurant and take out) but for dinner they often require reservations which we didn’t plan in advance for. We were in town Christmas week and knowing how busy they are we didn’t even try to go.
Other eats and tries:
Butcher, Baker, Cappuccino Maker was a spot we tried for the first time in West Hollywood, Andrew’s breakfast sandwich was amazing but my avocado toast was just ok. The coffee was delicious though!
Egg Slut – We met up with my bestie here for the first time and loved it. Andrew was convinced we were going to Shake Shack next door and still hasn’t forgiven me that we didn’t stop by this trip.
Dominique Ansel at The Grove – We had a few pastries here and the cronuts. The one in NYC is better but the Los Angeles location is still very good.
Din Tai Fung (not shown) – We were so excited about this we forgot to take any photos! My family is from Taiwan and when I was in college, I spent a summer there. I ate at Din Tai Fung in Taipei every week. I don’t think any of the locations in the US are quite like the original ones, but it’s still very very good! It was Andrew’s first time trying it and he was very impressed.
Our last stop was San Francisco. We arrived in town Christmas Eve and stayed a few more days at my brother-in-law’s house. One of our good friends gave us a tour of the new Facebook facility in San Francisco. He’s based in campus in Menlo Park but was still able to give us a tour of the new building. The views from the top floors were amazing!
My must-sees for San Francisco were Tartine Bakery and Tartine Manufactory. I would eat at both places on a daily basis if I could. The bread and pastries are the best I’ve ever had! I live for the Tartine Morning Buns.
We also tried a few other cute places which I didn’t get pictures of. Most of the restaurants were closed for Christmas Eve and Christmas but we managed to find some open restaurants. On Christmas Eve we stopped by a ramen place called Iza Ramen which was really cute! On Christmas evening we decided not to cook at home and instead went out for Chinese dumplings. Three of us put in our names at both Kingdom of Dumpling and Dumpling Kitchen (they’re both on the same street) and waited nearly 45 minutes for a table. Kingdom of Dumpling opened up first. It’s a very tiny restaurant inside with maybe only 8 tables. Even though the wait was long and space was a little cramped, we had the most entertaining memorable Christmas there. We would 100% go back.
A few more snapshots of our trip. I have the worst fear of heights and it’s an ordeal for me to walk down steep hills. I would almost rather stop drop and roll down any steep hill, it’s that bad. Andrew held my hand the entire time. We walked through Nob Hill, Russian Hill, Lombard Street and it was so packed for the holidays! We eventually made our way down to Boudin’s at Fisherman’s Wharf to grab some coffee and just took our time to enjoy the city.
On our last day before we flew back to Tampa, we stopped by a hole in the wall Banh Mi shop called Dinosaurs in the Castro. It was excellent! It’s tiny but the food was delicious.
I hope you enjoyed our California Travel Diary! We are not good at planning but we always manage to have a good time even on spur of the moment adventures. I hope in 2019 we’ll be better and plan our trips more in advance. I’m currently researching places to visit in the upcoming months. We have so much on our travel bucket list it’s hard to pick a destination!
Do you have any favorite spots in California? Or any travel plans for the upcoming year? I’d love to hear about them! Packing posts are what most of you have been asking me for. I’m breaking it down into a 3 part series so stay tuned! I’ll let you know what I brought with me, what I could have skipped and also the list of things I felt like I missed.